I have been advocating for and supporting individuals with disabilities for 30 years. I am writing regarding L.D. 967, also known as “The Promise to Maine’s Direct-Care Workers,” which needs approval in order to fulfill a pledge to increase wages for direct-support professionals over a two-year period.

I am witness to the direct impact on the people we are supporting when staff cannot afford to stay and are forced to quit their jobs because of low wages. I have also been witness to staff struggling to stay in the field and needing to work two and three jobs to make ends meet to support themselves and their families. Direct-support professionals, on average, make $10 an hour! That’s $10 an hour to support another human being with personal hygiene, cleaning their house, meal preparation, grocery shopping and medical, psychiatric and social necessities, just to name a few responsibilities.

Currently, people have a choice to not work in this challenging field and go to work at fast-food restaurants, variety stores or retail chains for $12 an hour and up without the training, dedication and responsibility of another human being.

Last year, Maine legislators promised to fund this bill this year, but L.D. 967 remains unfunded today, leaving direct-care workers and people with disabilities without hope or certainty of a future beyond July 1, when last year’s hard-won pay increase runs out.

Please, call your legislator today and ask them to keep their promise. There’s no time left.

Terri Scott

Minot


Comments are not available on this story.