Pennsylvania is facing a crisis because government funding for
Direct Support Professional (DSP) wages have flatlined for 10 years.
Governor Tom Wolf told PAR Representatives that he was appreciative and empathetic with the over 4,000 people, including people with disabilities, family members, Direct Support Professionals, agency directors and other disability allies, who have called his office during the last three weeks to advocate for the inclusion of a $60 million (in state dollars) increase in rates targeted to increasing wages for Direct Support Professionals. Speaking with the Governor were (photo on the right) Charlie Hooker, President and CEO of Keystone Human Services and PAR Advocacy Council Chair; Governor Tom Wolf; Shirley Walker, PAR President & CEO; and Gary Blumenthal, PAR Vice President; told the Governor that:
ID/A Medicaid funding services are wholly dependent upon the state for funding and have no other source of funding to pay for program services.
Current rates are responsible for low wages for DSPs, which cause workers to receive near poverty wages and rely upon Medicaid for their own health care, Section 8 for housing, SNAP (food stamps) for nutrition and other forms of public benefits.
A Path to a Living Wage, endorsed by the Governor, will require increased funding every budget year.
PAR's thousands of activists have been energized by this year's campaign to Fix the DSP Crisis and will be there to support the Governor's budget, inclusive of the $60 million state appropriation, through the entire legislative process.
In response to these issues, Governor Wolf told PAR that he was impressed by the passion of PAR supporters who are calling his office, and he will work his best to try to address the DSP crisis with the available dollars that can be generated. Shirley Walker, PAR's President and CEO, told PAR Board Members this morning that "we must continue to advocate for DSP wages and fair rates. This is a matter of quality, fairness and justice." Keep calling Governor Wolf (717.787.2500) and urge him to add $60 Million to his budget for DSPs!