Valerie Largent and Liamarie Snyder are direct support professionals. They both help those with developmental disabilities. But they say if the state does not come up with $45 million extra dollars to boost their wages, they won’t be able to support themselves. Even worse, they say, they won’t be able to care for the ones they work with.
“The finances just aren’t there,” said Largent.
“Everyone has bills to pay. Everyone has a personal life so it’s hard when you’re not making enough money in order to live,” said Snyder.
The #bFair2DirectCare Coalition works with people like Largent and Snyder. The group is asking Gov. Cuomo to meet with them personally so they can ask for the funds to pay direct support professionals a living wage.
Barbara Wale is the President and CEO of ARC of Monroe which is one of the organizations associated with the coalition.
“We really need to be able to make sure that we can recruit and retain people and in order to be able to do that, we need to be able to supply them with money that really gives them dollars to be able to give them a living,” said Wale.
She says direct support professionals are making less than fast food and retail workers.
“They make more money than I do and receive better benefits, so it can be a little frustrating,” said Liamarie Snyder.
Without this funding, they say, the health and safety of vulnerable New Yorkers is placed at risk. The coalition only has a month to convince Cuomo to fund a living wage for these workers. However they’re feeling hopeful.
“I am optimistic that our legislation will get together and say you know what, we need to give our direct support care more funding, more money so that they can continue to do the work that they do. The work that we do is very challenging and very difficult,” said Largent.