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We Have Choices


Speaking Up for OurselvesWe are presenting this statement on behalf of the Board of Directors and the many thousands of members and supporters of our organization, the Self-Advocacy Association of New York Statement (SANYS). SANYS s a statewide organization controlled by and for people with developmental disabilities. The primary purpose of the association is to help people with developmental disabilities speak up for themselves both individually and collectively. Over the last few months Governor Paterson has been very upfront about New York State’s fiscal crisis. We want to commend the Governor for being so straightforward about the financial challenges for New York and for all of us as citizens.

In thinking about our advocacy on behalf of all people with developmental disabilities, including those who cannot speak for themselves, we have developed the following list of issues that we as an organization will focus our advocacy efforts on. We understand that the financial crisis NY faces is going to be with us for awhile but we believe that as New Yorkers we can get through these tough times by working together in a spirit of cooperation and unselfishness. Issues of Major Concern to People with Developmental Disabilities

• Fairness First: We believe that before NY State makes further cuts to any State and voluntary organizations that provide essential supports and services to any groups of people who currently depend on these supports and services, that all other possible revenues sources be considered and that agreements and contracts that were negotiated before this crisis should be looked at in the light of the current state fiscal condition. The following statements pertain to supports and programs funded by OMRDD but we believe these principles apply to other groups of people with disabilities supported by New York State.

• Ensure Safety: We are concerned about the safety of all people, who OMRDD supports, but especially people who are vulnerable and cannot speak for themselves. We need to ensure that the homes and places were people live and work are safe and fully supportive of their needs.

• Adequate staff: Related to safety and to all the continued and ongoing needs, including community inclusion and employment supports for people with developmental disabilities, the state must assure that there are adequate direct support professional and other staff available.

• Individualized supports are important and need to be increased. OMRDD has made significant effort to develop new individualized and nontraditional person-centered and controlled supports. These supports have proven to be of high quality and cost effective. OMRDD must continue the development of individualized supports. In fact, in this time of financial crisis we believe that funds should be dedicated to the development of individualized and non-24 hours supports especially geared towards and offered to people currently living in more expensive group living situations who might be able and interested in living in more individualized and cost effective alternatives.

• Voluntary Provider Financial Stability: Many of our members are supported by provider organizations that receive their funds from OMRDD. These agencies are critical to the continued and safe support of people with developmental disabilities and these organizations must remain financially sound and capable of borrowing money from banks in their communities to pay their bills.

• People with developmental and other disabilities have a lot to offer. In these difficult times, people with disabilities want to be part of the solution and will look to be included as volunteers in community services efforts to assist citizens in New York who will need assistance.

Stephen Holmes
Administrative Director
Self-Advocacy Association of NY
500 Balltown Rd. Bldg 5
Schenectady, NY 12304
Fax --518-382-1594
Cell-- 518-796-8769

Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, Inc.
2008 New York Budget Statement--October 29, 2008


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