If you suddenly became completely disabled, what would you do? Where would you turn for the help that could let you stay off the streets as a sick homeless person? Most of us haven’t given thought to that. Congress is getting ready to cut billions of dollars out of the program that lets a companion come in to keep you at home and cared for. They think they are saving money (we all know we are out of money), but this action is shortsighted since it costs four times as much to keep a person in a nursing home or other institution as it does to keep them at home with assistance. Where are the brains in this dilemma? Why is necessary for 76 demonstrators to address this issue to be arrested? As of June, the Back To Work Program will be cut. At a time when we need people employed and paying taxes, Congress is helping us make these jobs and people disappear with their magic eraser. If we don’t see them, they don’t exist.
Also speaking of money. Here is another dilemma. Transition programs have been cut that would allow a deaf person to receive training, get a job and pay taxes. Transition programs have disappeared because of budget cuts that would let our disabled high school graduates find a job, be a productive citizens and pay taxes. When these high school graduates have no place to go, guess what happens; a parent has to quit a job to stay home with them. More job cuts. One in five persons is disabled, so the ripple effect of this particular cut is not even measurable, but it is gigintic. All these valuable, disabled citizens are asking for is safety and a chance to be productive citizens.
I’ll step off my soap box to wish you happy spring and beautiful summer even though New England has snow. If you are one of the persons affected by these cuts, it is even more important to take a deep breath (if you can) and enjoy some moments celebrating the beauty around you. There ARE people out there going to jail for you, and there is HOPE someplace along the way.
Apologies to my blog readers for disappearing. WordPress and I had a difference of opinion on who is doing this. Been too busy to work it out.
Work on emergency planning for Chapelwood United Methodist Church has been top on agenda with a Ferno sales rep coming today to demonstrate an evacuation chair that might let us get our persons with disabilities out of harms way in case of any kind of emergency. It’s amazing the number of appliances out there that help people to safety. Our priority is safety for both the person being transported down stairs and for the persons who are doing the transporting. I may be the guinea pig this afternoon as I transfer to one of the chairs. The planning committee is made up of people who are experts in their fields who have worked diligently to put an emergency plan together. I have learned a lot from them, and will now need to amend the Circle of Friends emergency procedures.
Our new service opportunity for teens begins in September, and we are in the process of organizing information and meeting with volunteers to work out safety practices and schedules that will be not only fun but productive. The group will be small, but we expect it to grow as do all our programs that are based on need. The program will serve high school graduates who have no transition program or place to go due to state cut backs in funding.
Networking and new information presented by Reverend Greg Edwards encouraged parents at a joint meeting of parent chat groups last week. Greg, who is on the board of directors of the Methodist Mission Home in San Antonio, talked about the arm of the Home that is Southwest Center for Higher Independence. Every parent there wanted higher independence for their student, so there were many questions about evaluation, prospects for future independence. Parents pointed out that many students do not qualify for DARS and function at a different level than expected at most transition institutions. There is a huge need in this area, especially since Texas is cutting funding to most programs that would help these students. It was an informative evening, and some of you are planning to visit the facility. I offered my cabin for an overnight bed and breakfast, but I will wait to buy the eggs and bacon until plans gel.
There is no voice loud enough to yell at the State of Texas budget cuts to the disabled and elderly. You can’t yell at the cuts. You have to yell at people, but they are deaf. Care givers of persons with special needs and older persons have yelled, they have called, written, faxed, demonstrated to absolutely deaf ears and blind eyes. When nursing homes are closed along with group homes and the closure of two state institutions mandated by the Justice Department puts persons with disabilities on the streets, someone might notice. It will not be our state representatives or the governor. They are in their cool offices drinking Starbucks coffee. It will be the general public saying, “Why didn’t someone tell me?”
We are telling you now. It is heartless, shameful and wrong to take away the foundations and futures of all these people and their parents. Yes, I am angry. Because I hear and see the terror of parents and loved ones who have had the rug pulled out from under them. Their safety net is gone.
The economic impact will also be felt across the state. Intellectually disabled persons who have no place to spend their days in work and transitional programs must stay home with a caregiver who will have to quit a job to be there. These are the caregivers who work to save a nest egg for the aging years of their loved one. In another area, thousands of workers will be laid off from care, work and nursing centers. We are about to see a huge drain on the government for unemployment. Has this been figured in by those in Austin? I doubt it.
If you haven’t faxed or called your representative, now is the last minute. This is definitely a rainy day.