By Morgan McKay
Published: December 11, 2017, 4:41 pm Updated: December 11, 2017, 4:57 pm
ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York has come a long way in how it cares for its disabled and mentally ill residents and continues to set new national standards in how these people are cared for.
However, these programs are at risk of being cut if something is not done soon to increase funding.
“We can no longer wait. At some point they have to pay attention to us,” Toni Lasicki, Director for Association for Community Living, said.
Lasicki says direct care workers still barely make minimum wage, even as some employees at fast food restaurants are earning $15 per hour. The legislature has pledged to raise direct care worker’s wages over the next six years, but Lasicki told the Assembly committee six years is too long.
“These jobs require staff to understand mental illness, supervise medications, do crisis counseling; these are anything but minimum wage jobs.”
It’s not just direct care workers taking a hit. Housing programs for those with disabilities and mental illnesses are falling short of making ends meet across the state.
“We’re talking about serious underfunding for a lot of years.