Disability Advocate Collects 10,000 Emails to End Staff Crisis Pandemic
(WIVB) – A local activist is leading a statewide effort to send 10,000 emails to Governor Kathy Hochul to improve the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities.
BJ Stasio is a man on a mission. He says services for people with disabilities are reaching a crisis.
He is the chairman of a state group that promotes self-advocacy for people with physical and intellectual challenges.
Their independence has steadily declined over the past 10 years, and now they plan to “rise up together”.
Campaigners say the office’s public funding for people with developmental disabilities has remained stable or neutral over the past 10 years, making it nearly impossible to hire and retain direct support and related service professionals.
It is a challenge to the independence of people like Stasio.
He told Albany lawmakers last month that these direct care professionals work long hours, which is just too much for many of them – leaving group homes understaffed or forced to close.
Max Donatelli’s son lives in a critically understaffed group home, but due to the nature of the home’s certification, parents or other caregivers can replace him.
“We worked from 3pm to 11pm, providing dinner, which the staff would normally do,” Donatelli said.
Now that Stasio has won the ear of state lawmakers, he wants to grab Governor Hochul’s attention with 10,000 emails and 10,000 stories. He wants to receive these emails before December, so that he can personally deliver them to Governor Hochul.
If you have a story to share about services for people with disabilities, you can find the link to “Get Up Together” here.