To those people who are quoted in the article and the organizations they work for, it would be helpful to have discussions regarding concerns of people who are ACTUALLY affected by these changes rather than blocking them. Stand up and listen!
“Everyone deserves equal opportunity to provide for themselves so they can be financially independent and live an independent life,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who sponsored the legislation.
Excuse me, Councilmember Upthegrove – did you happen to read the JLARC report that came out last year regarding this issue. This ordinance has nothing to do with improving wages or helping people be financially independent and live an independent life. That’s called “Magical Thinking” – I don’t think this ordinance is going to be magical.
In case you did not read the report, here is one quote from it
5,110 clients (73%) were employed. They worked an average of 47 hours per month and earned an average wage of $583 per month. Unemployed clients may be in the job development phase.
Clients with high support needs work fewer hours and are more likely to be unemployed
JLARC staff analysis of data for the clients in individual supported employment during fiscal year 2018 found that:
44% of clients with high support needs were unemployed. This is double the rate for clients with medium support needs and five times the rate for clients with low support needs.
Clients with high support needs who were employed worked 21 hours per month on average. This is less than half the average hours for clients with medium support needs, and a quarter of the hours for the clients with low support needs.
99% of clients with high support needs earned less than the federal poverty level.
The Arc of King County and King County Developmental Disabilities Council hosted the recent Developmental Disabilities Legislative Forum. The theme of the evening was “The Unserved.” Yes, this is a huge issue but an even larger issue was the blatant discrimination against our most vulnerable citizens by The Arc of King County and Lance Morehouse, Outreach Coordinator and Advocacy Coordinator King County Parent Coalition, The Arc of King County.
Morehouse refused to allow two groups to speak at the forum stating there were time limits and a change of focus of the forum. Make no mistake about this – these groups do serve the” unserved” and that is part of their focus but they were denied a chance to speak due to their advocacy for a continuum of care. The Arc is opposed to any congregate care and therefore discriminates against those for whom this care is the LEAST RESTRICTIVE, safest and cost effective care for those who chose this type of care.
The Arc of King County receives thousands of county and state public dollars every year for outreach and advocacy, parent training, parent to parent, and many other services. The Arc uses some of these public funds to discriminate against our most vulnerable, censor information from advocates for a full continuum of care and block information which may be life-saving to some people with DD or their families.
It is time to question these practices which are paid for with public funds.
Below is a link to the letter which I wrote to members of the King County Council and legislators from King County. I do hope that this issue will be taken seriously and these decision makers become aware of the publicly funded discrimination against our most vulnerable and their advocates.