Funding Priorities FY'11
Massachusetts Independent Living Centers
Keeping people with disabilities in the community!
Below are key programs supported by the eleven independent living centers in Massachusetts
Mass. Rehab. Commission Homemaker Program (line item 4120-5000): A little help goes a long way; this program helps many disabled persons, a majority with brain injury, mental health or cognitive disabilities, to be safe in their own homes and to work. The average client receives only 3-4 hours service a week, which doesn't sound like much, but this program serves individuals who can't get services anywhere else, as they fall short of the eligibility criteria for DMH, DDS, and the PCA program. Without these services, many persons could lose their tenancies and become homeless, suffer from deteriorating health, or need acute and/or psychiatric hospitalizations. Even small cuts result in major disruptions. New referrals stopped as of 6/3/09 with over 150 on the wait list, and those 150 are still on the wait list. Please restore funding to at least the FY 10 level: $5,103,518 (an increase of $1,346,399).
Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) (line item 7004-9030): This program provides housing vouchers for very low-income persons with disabilities. When many state-subsidized units were designated "elder only" housing, it had the effect of reducing the number of units available to younger folks with disabilities. The AHVP was created to make up for that loss, and a commitment was made to serve 800 households in 1995. However, frequent funding reductions and inflation means only 375 families are being served, despite the state's legal commitment (MA Olmstead Plan) to provide community-based housing for persons with disabilities. The AHVP program requires $3.45 million to maintain the number of vouchers served at the beginning of FY 10.
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) (line item 7004-9024): The MRVP provides vouchers for low-income families and elderly persons. MRVP is one of the most effective tools to immediately address the excessive demand on shelters and help families, many who have a member with a disability. The average income of MRVP families is just $11,000, so cuts to this program lead directly to homelessness. If this program had been funded sufficiently In FY 10 to provide another 2,000 vouchers for families leaving shelters (cost would have been $22 M) the emergency assistance program would not have needed a supplemental budget appropriation (cost: $41.9 million) because these 2,000 additional families could have been housed instead of sheltered. We request that MRVP be funded at $35.4 million to fund 5,247 existing vouchers this year.
Massachusetts PCA Program and MassHealth: The state's Personal Care Attendant program provides invaluable services to over 18,500 people with disabilities in the state, including seniors and children. PCAs keep people out of nursing homes and enable working-age people to hold jobs. The program was slated for cuts at one point; we ask for continued full funding for the PCA program, including for the PCA contract.
Massachusetts Independent Living Centers (line item 4120-4000): The state's ILCs serve nearly 20,000 people a year, assisting disabled individuals to move out of nursing homes, find jobs, secure housing, obtain benefits, and otherwise live productive lives. In addition, approximately 70% of center staff are people with disabilities. We recommend level funding for the centers.