Advocates for the Disabled Rally Against Budget Cuts
Advocates for the developmentally disabled in Rochester say state budget cuts threaten valuable services provided to thousands of people. They're pressuring state lawmakers to restore proposed cuts.
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"Wow, I'm happy to see all these wonderful faces here today."
The faces of developmentally disabled citizens, caught in a budget battle.
"For many individuals and their families, we are a lifeline," said Rhonda Frederick, Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York.
Advocates rallied to fight proposed state budget cuts; $240 million worth, which they say threaten not for profit agencies, and the people they help.
"Today is one of those times where we need to stand together to protest what all of us believe will severely impact our ability to serve people with developmental disabilities," Frederick said.
"There's not a parent of an individual needing these lifetime services who is not deeply concerned, if not outright panicked today," said Karyn Walsh.
Karyn worries what the cuts will do to services provided to her daughter, Erin Kate, and tens of thousands of others who live more independent lives, because of the assistance.
"What will the impact be on the physical and emotional well-being of our loved ones, as those they have trusted to care for them are no longer there for them?" asked Karyn.
"They're taking the wheels off our wheelchairs. We are humans," said Frank Seiler, CP Rochester.
Advocates are urging state lawmakers to restore the proposed budget cuts. Without it, they fear programs and services will be scaled back, if not cut altogether.
"We invite our legislators to come to our agencies to see what we do. Instead of taking our money, come see what we do, and we guarantee you, you'll be giving us money after you see what we do," Seiler said.
Advocates are hopeful Assembly and Senate budgets will restore critical funding. In the meantime, they'll be a voice for those who may not be able to speak for themselves.
"I love you all and we'll get through this. Thank you."