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Hochul, after Brooklyn rally, announces $1.5 billion for professionals working with developmentally disabled

Pandemic has contributed to worker burnout

November 24, 2021 Jaime DeJesus, Brooklynreporter.com
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Gov. Kathy Hochul, several days after a rally in Bath Beach by disability advocates, announced that the New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will provide more than $1.5 billion in one-time American Rescue Plan Act Funding to support professionals who deal with the developmentally disabled.

The act, in an effort to address workforce shortages in the field, will support recruitment efforts, retention incentives and vaccination bonuses for the professionals who provide support for people with developmental disabilities.

Two days before the announcement, a rally was held at the HeartShare School Cafeteria, 1825 Bath Ave. Parents, teachers, staffers from organizations such as the Guild for Exceptional Children and elected officials urged her to sign legislation to expand programs across New York that serve children with disabilities.

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In her announcement, Hochul stressed that direct support professionals provided essential support to people with developmental disabilities, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before Gov. Hochul’s announcement of $1.5 billion in one-time American Rescue Plan Act Funding, locals rally at Bath Beach urging for an expansion of programs for children with disabilities. Photo courtesy of Sen. Gounardes’ office

“We owe these workers a debt of gratitude, and the American Rescue Plan funding paves the way for bonuses, incentives and one time pay raises to help keep these hardworking, loyal and devoted workers doing what they love most, supporting people with developmental disabilities,” she said on Nov. 18.

During the rally, CEO and Executive Director for the Guild for Exceptional Children Joe Riley told attendees that programs for children with developmental disabilities, such as the Guild, are losing teachers and closing classrooms, with many school programs in danger of closing due to lack of funding.

He later told the Eagle that he was pleased with the announcement and stated the families served by the Guild and the staff are grateful that Governor Hochul is pledging funds to help caregivers.

“[It’s] a sorely needed boost for the dwindling workforce of direct support professionals who have taken heroic care of this vulnerable population throughout the pandemic, as always,” he said. “We have an obligation to make this care sustainable and Governor Hochul is making her support and compassion apparent.”


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