Your Voice Matters
State and federal governments have been taking action to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis and to provide relief for Americans and businesses who have been financially hurt by the crisis. Unfortunately, for programs like PRI, this assistance has not addressed providing financial resources to meet our fixed costs that remain while we are closed. This will jeopardize our ability to re-open when restrictions are lifted.
We need our legislators to understand that our services will be needed when this is over. People with disabilities will need to get back to work, get back into their communities and get back to the lives they had before COVID-19. They depend on the supports of organizations like PRI and ensuring that these programs can come back after the crisis are key to helping restore normalcy for people with disabilities.
Take Legislative Action Today: State Funding for Day and Employment Service Providers
Thank you for your continued support of Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI) and the services we provide to people with disabilities. Today, we are asking you to reach out to our State leadership.
At PRI, a limited number of us continue to work to sustain our agency during our closure while forming plans around how to reopen services safely and provide services in new ways. This work is being replicated in over 100 other nonprofit agencies, fighting to survive during this time and preparing to reopen when it is safe to do so. All disability day and employment service providers need our help to get through this time of closure. Please use this letter as a template and include your own thoughts as you contact Governor Walz and House and Senate leaders to urge their support. Please CUSTOMIZE the message below and reach out TODAY to these leaders (links included):
Contact Office of Governor Walz
Contact Senate Majority Leader Gazelka
Contact Senate Minority Leader Kent
Contact Speaker of the House Hortman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact House Minority Leader Daudt: email@example.com
Email Subject Line: Help Ensure Minnesotans with Disabilities Have Day and Employment Support Services to Return to Following the COVID-19 Outbreak
Thank you for everything that you are doing to help steer our State forward through the 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 part of the one-time federal funds Minnesota received related to COVID-19 to Disability Day and Employment Services Infrastructure Retention grants. Through this action you will be prioritizing services for a group of individuals who are often forgotten, a group that represents over 26,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Minnesota.
Disability Service providers are fighting to survive the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Six weeks ago, most day and employment service providers closed. With six weeks of no reimbursements, these nonprofit service providers are struggling to cover minimal operational costs that would allow them to resume services when it is safe to do so. 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.
With reserve funds running dry, without funding relief, many providers may not be able to resume operations following the passage of the outbreak. With State support, together we can ensure that we will all return to a new normal where community-based services are still available for adults with significant developmental and physical disabilities. We can ensure that Minnesota still is a state where all individuals have access to the community through services to support them in their employment and day enrichment activity goals.
INSERT YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO PRI HERE AND TELL YOUR STORY, FOCUSING ON THE IMPACT OF DAY AND EMPLOYMENT SERVICES AND WHAT IT WOULD MEAN IF ACCESS TO THESE SERVICES WERE LIMITED AFTER COVID-19.
One-time grant funding would help begin to stabilize service providers and is a critical step to ensuring that we do not face a significantly weakened service system for Minnesotans with disabilities after this outbreak.
As a statewide leader, I am asking you to please prioritize this need in discussions around 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.
Sample Letter – Contact your State Representatives and Senators
- Ask your legislator to pass legislation to provide disability day and employment services fixed cost relief as soon as possible to help ensure Minnesotans with disabilities have access to needed day services.
- Due to COVID19, PRI had to temporarily suspend services, resulting in no revenue, but is still required to pay fixed costs.
- Include a personal note about how this affects you, your loved one, and your family now and into the future.
EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: HELP ENSURE MINNESOTANS WITH DISABILITIES HAVE ACCESS TO NEEDED DAY SERVICES
Dear Rep. ___/ Sen. ___,
Thank you for all you are doing to help steer our state forward through this current COVID-19 outbreak, we appreciate all of your efforts.
I am asking you to please push to pass a Disability Day and Employment Services Fixed Cost Relief legislative proposal as soon as possible, to help ensure Minnesotans with disabilities have access to needed day services. As you know, disability day and employment services are being hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Many day and employment services providers have had to suspend their traditional services in order to minimize the risk of infection to the individuals with disabilities they support. Day and employment services are only paid when these services are provided, yet fixed costs such as staff health care coverage, rent, utilities, buses and other fixed costs continue, even if services are not being provided. Many of these service providers across the state are nonprofits with little to no cash reserves in case of an emergency such as this.
INSERT BRIEF NOTE HERE WITH YOUR PERSONAL STORY OF HOW DAY AND EMPLOYMENT SERVICES AFFECT YOU AND/OR SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE AND THE EFFECT IF THOSE SERVICES ARE DISRUPTED LONG TERM AS A RESULT OF THE CURRENT CRISIS
Emergency funding is urgently needed to help day and employment service providers address our fixed costs so Minnesotans with disabilities can access some form of critical day supports during this pandemic and can have critical day and employment support services to return to when this pandemic passes. This emergency funding for fixed costs is needed so day and employment service providers can try to support Minnesotans with disabilities in new and different ways during this short term pandemic. And, so we can avoid coming back from this pandemic with a decimated infrastructure for these crucial disability community services, where people with disabilities will not have access to innovative, individualized supports during the day.
I am asking you to please push to pass a Disability Day and Employment Services Fixed Cost Relief legislative proposal as soon as possible. For a copy of a current draft legislative proposal, please contact MOHR (the statewide association of disability day and employment service providers).
Julie Johnson, MOHR President: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Noren, MOHR Government Affairs Committee Chair: email@example.com
Thank you for your partnership on this critical issue.
Your voice really does matter and now is the time to make your voice heard on behalf of PRI and the disability community! I urge you to reach out to your legislators and tell your story as soon as possible. If you have personal contacts with legislators or staff members, now is the time to reach out.
Now is the time to reach out to your state representatives and senators. They are planning the topics and initiatives they will be taking on when they reconvene on April 14, and it is important that they include relief for day and employment providers. Please reach out to them before Monday, April 6. You can find your legislators here:
Main Message when telling your story:
- Ask Legislators to urge DHS (MN Department of Human Services) to grant emergency relief funding to support day and employment provider’s fixed costs during these closures
- These funds are already allocated in the State budget (not new money)
- This funding will support the minimal operations needed now to reopen essential day and employment services when it is safe to do so
- Share your personal story of the importance of day and employment services
As of today, there is still no action at either the federal or state levels that provides immediate financial relief for day and employment services providers like PRI. This not only impacts the 325 individuals with disabilities we serve, but there are 26,000 adults with disabilities statewide that are also impacted. Without immediate action at both the state and federal levels, providers like PRI are at great risk of not being able to reopen after the pandemic, which would be devastating to those we serve, now and into the future.