Founded by Walter W. Stockton and Conrad Kuhn in response to the horrors of Willowbrook and serving the Hamptons and Eastern Long Island, the Independent Group Home Living organization (IGHL) provides services, training and housing for people with developmental disabilities and for almost four decades it has been the standard by which all similar programs across the country have been measured.
State funding for IGHL and other organizations that serve the developmentally disabled comes through the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). After weeks of working to maintain funding for OPWDD service providers, originally facing 6% across the board funding cuts, IGHL has been informed that the 6% cuts will now be reinstated into the 2013 NYS Budget.
IGHL Compliance Officer and IGHL Foundation Director Frank Lombardi has put out a urgent call for all New Yorkers to protest the 6% funding cuts to OPWDD service providers, “These cuts will be devastating to IGHL and all agencies and our programs. These cuts threaten the quality of life for the 120,000 vulnerable people who depend on non-profit agencies across New York State. Many of the individuals served require 24 hour/7 days a week care, the kind of care that the state itself is incapable of providing.”
Lombardi also states that the cuts will not only eliminate jobs, but may force many voluntary agencies to close their doors. These agencies have already experienced 9% cuts amounting to $350 million, the additional 6% cuts amount to a loss of $120 million in NYS Medicaid funding and $120 million in matching Federal Medicaid funding.
IGHL is urging all New Yorkers to contact the Governor and their State Senators and Assembly members and demand that the 6% OPWDD service provider cuts be restored to the budget. These cuts will have a devastating impact on the quality of life and the protection and care of those among us who are incapable of protecting themselves.
You can email the Governor at his website http://www.governor.ny.gov/ or call his office at (518) 474-8390. To locate the contact information for State Senators and Assembly Members go to http://www.nysenate.gov/ and http://assembly.state.ny.us/.