Cuomo’s cuts will hurt people with disabilities

I am the parent of a wonderful young man, Craig, who has Down syndrome. According to the governor’s executive budget, he is planning to cut services to not-for-profit agencies across the board by 6 percent. Craig has been receiving support from many these agencies, including Baker Victory Services, People Inc., Aspire, Heritage and others. He has gotten help with job skills, social skills, independent living skills, socialization, recreation, learning about safety and self-protection, as well as getting transportation.

With the serious threat of these funding cuts, I am very worried that Craig and others with developmental disabilities are going to have services limited or eliminated altogether. We as a society need to provide individuals like Craig the tools they need to be employed if capable and to live as independently as possible, have safe living situations and enjoy quality lives. Currently, through the help of a job coach, Craig has been employed for the past year and a half, and he may be moving into a shared living situation in the near future. All of this has been possible because of the support of these agencies.

Many individuals require life supports 24/7 from these local not-for-profit agencies. How can these agencies still provide quality services, ensure safety and attract and maintain committed and caring staff when they are being forced to cut services by 6 percent? Please tell your legislator and the governor that this plan in not acceptable. We need to assure a quality of life, safety and security for our most vulnerable citizens.

Max Donatelli