SUPPORT – A7399A Gunther/S5681 Ortt

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ON ASSEMBLY MENTAL HEALTH AGENDA 5/16/17

A7399A Gunther/S5681 Ortt

The New York State AFL‐CIO, representing over 2.5 million union members, their families as well as our retirees and their families supports the above referenced legislation.

This legislation codifies existing community based programs that are operated by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), to ensure their availability.

Several years ago, OPWDD developed care demonstration programs that utilized the state workforce for various community based care programs including community habilitation, in-home respite, pathways to employment, supported employment, and community pre-vocational. These programs are a path forward for individuals who want to live more independently in the community.

Unfortunately, services at OPWDD have been subject to cuts making availability unreliable for families in need. Program participants do not know if the services will be available from year to year since the programs are not in statute.  Codifying these programs in law will create a more stable and predictable funding stream for clients and their families.

This bill will also create new service opportunities for the thousands of individuals who are waiting for services from OPWDD including residential and community based programs. The demonstration programs have helped these clients and their families receive the services that they need.

This Federation urges this bill be passed.

For further information contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.