Be Fair to Direct Care

New Horizons Resources is encouraging you to support the #bFair2DirectCare campaign by doing the following and encouraging others to do the same! To be most effective, the actions below should be taken now, prior to January 11, 2017 when the Governor releases his annual budget:
1. Call Governor Cuomo and express your opinion:
(a) Be prepared before you call. You may want to look at the attached sample draft letters before calling.
(b) Call 518-474-8390 (listen to options, select #2 or #3).
(c) Identify yourself and your connection to the field (for example, "I am a DSP.") and express your opinion.
(d) Pass this information on to others and ask them to express their opinions.
2. Write a Letter to the Editor:
(a) Please see the attached draft letter to the editor.
(b) Please see the instructions for how to submit Letters to the Editor to Dutchess/Ulster County newspapers at the bottom of this post.
3. "Like" the Facebook page and interact with the #bFair2DirectCare social media accounts by liking, sharing and commenting on posts and tweets:

Sample Letter to the Editor from a DSP
I am one of New York State's 100,000 direct support professionals (DSPs) providing support every day to New Yorker's with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You've probably seen me or someone like me, working in the community. I proudly work with these wonderful people and their families so they can all live in the community and have full and rewarding lives.
While my paycheck comes from a community not-for-profit agency, the money to pay me comes mostly from New York State. I deserve a raise - just like the raise demanded for fast food workers. The Governor said private business needed to increase wages to pay their workers a fair wage; we ask the Governor and State Legislature to do the same and increase reimbursement rates for local non-profits that provide these invaluable services.
DSP's salaries used to start several dollars above the minimum wage. Because of the stagnant pay, we start at the minimum wage or just above. I know far too many co-workers who left for clerical or retail sales jobs last year. They didn't want to give up our special profession. They just could not afford to stay. In fact, statewide the annual turnover rate is over 20 percent. As a result, most of the not-for-profit provider agencies have vacancy rates in excess of 10 percent in these important jobs.
Those workers who left were supporting families in our community, some working with children with autism; others supporting citizens with Down syndrome or cerebral palsy or a family dealing with a loved one with a serious brain injury. Imagine how you would feel if your family needed your help, but it was no longer available in the community, but only in an institution.
I support the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition's "300 Days to Better Pay" campaign. Fast food workers are starting at wages it took me years to reach. While my job is rewarding, it is also demanding and every week I see another direct care worker leave because we no longer make much more than the mandated minimum wage. That's a shame and it has to be corrected before it is too late.
So, join me, the people and families I support and some wonderful community organizations and write to Governor Cuomo and your state legislators today. Tell them that you support your community, your neighbors and the "300 Days to Better Pay" campaign.
Please follow us and like us on Facebook (@BFair2DirectCare) and Twitter (#bFair2DirectCare).

Sample Letter to the Editor from a Parent
As the parent of a child with autism (or cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, a serious brain injury, or other intellectual or developmental disability), I write as a supporter of the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition's "300 days to Better Pay" campaign.
When I learned my child (son/daughter) had a disability, I was gratified to find support for my whole family right in the community. Day programs, transportation, job coaching, residential support, medical support, and recreation, all right here, staffed by dedicated and caring direct support professionals who treat my son/daughter like they are a part of their family.
Direct support professionals (DSPs), working for not-for-profit organizations help me around the clock and are a part of the fabric that holds our communities together. They help my child achieve his/her best and be a part of the community. Increasingly, however, we are losing these vital workers to less demanding jobs, like fast food restaurants and big box stores, that suddenly pay as much as if not more, than these vital positions. Flat state government funding and new wage and benefit mandates created this growing worker shortage. We are now facing a crisis that will get worse unless New York State backs up its mandates by funding a living wage for DSP worker salaries.
Please support fair pay for direct support professionals and other vital staff that help support tens of thousands of New Yorkers by calling and writing your state legislators and Governor Cuomo. Tell them you support the "300 Days to Better Pay" campaign calling on New York State to provide fair pay for the DSPs working in every community across the state. Tell them you want them to support #bFair2DirectCare and help us keep our communities vibrant and inclusive of all.
Please follow and like us on Facebook (@BFair2DirectCare) and Twitter (#bFair2DirectCare).
Thank you for your support for my family and for families across New York.

How to send Letters to the Editor

The Poughkeepsie Journal…

The Times Herald Record…/submiss…/letter-to-editor?

Daily Freeman
You may send letters by e-mail (no attachments, please) to You can send a letter by regular mail to: Letters, Daily Freeman, 79 Hurley Ave., Kingston, NY 12401
Whether by e-mail or regular mail, include your name, home town and phone number for the purpose of verification. Letters longer than 250 words will be edited for brevity. All letters are subject to editing for clarity and taste.

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