May Action Alert - one time funds needed - contact leaders
Disability day and employment service providers need our help following the suspension of most services due to the state's COVID-19 stay home orders. Please use this letter as a template and include your own thoughts as you contact Governor Walz, House and Senate leaders to urge their support. CUSTOMIZE the message below and reach out soon to these leaders (links included).
Contact Office of Governor Walz
Contact Senate Majority Leader Gazelka
Contact Senate Minority Leader Kent
Email subject line: Help Ensure Minnesotans with Disabilities Have Day and Employment Support Services to Return to Following COVID-19 Outbreak
Thank you for all you are doing to help steer our state forward through this current COVID-19 outbreak. These are very uncertain times for us all and we appreciate all of your efforts.
As a statewide leader, I am asking you to please prioritize allocating a portion of the one-time federal funds Minnesota received related to COVID-19 towards some form of a Disability Day and Employment Services Infrastructure Retention grant. It has now become clear to us all that certain nonprofits and other companies simply will not survive the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and will not be able to resume operations following the passage of the outbreak.
The closing of these community resources- from restaurants to coffee shops to other community institutions - will be a loss for communities across the state. However, the very real possibility of returning from this outbreak to a Minnesota where adults with significant developmental and physical disabilities lack access to meaningful and individualized services to support them in their employment and day enrichment activity goals is an additionally particularly devastating outcome of this outbreak.
Most disability day and employment service providers closed down most of their services in mid-March to help minimize the risk of infections to the individuals with disabilities they support. These six weeks of lost revenues have been devastating to our system of critical disability day and employment services. Many of these nonprofit service providers across the state are now running out of reserve funding to allow them to cover the minimal operational costs that would allow them to resume providing disability services following the outbreak.
INSERT YOUR INFORMATION HERE FOCUSING ON THE IMPACT OF LACK OF ACCESS TO CRITICAL DAY AND EMPLOYMENT SERVICES FOR MINNESOTANS WITH DISABILITIES IN YOUR COMMUNITY DUE TO YOUR LOCAL PROGRAM'S CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION
The ability of these nonprofit disability day and employment services providers to access one-time grant funding would help begin to stabilize some of these service providers and is a critical step to ensuring that we don’t come back from this outbreak with a significantly weakened service system for Minnesotans with disabilities. These grants could be heavily targeted towards those disability day and employment services providers who can most specifically demonstrate how the one-time funds are a critical component of their ongoing ability to provide critical community-based day and employment supports to Minnesotans with disabilities.
While there have been various bills introduced and legislative discussions focused on this critical need in recent weeks, Minnesota has yet to take the step that many other states have taken to provide limited financial relief to the infrastructure of disability day and employment services. As a statewide leader, I am asking you to please prioritize this need in discussions of the use of one-time federal funds Minnesota received related to COVID-19. Please let me know of any questions you have or how I can best help you prioritize this issue so critical to Minnesota’s disability services system.