It Matters to Me


St. Lawrence NYSARC "It Matters to Me" Video



  • The development of new residential opportunities and other supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is lagging far behind the increasing demand for these opportunities.
  • This is particularly true for adults with developmental disabilities living at home with aging parents.
  • Many caregivers have lost their ability to adequately support their adult child with developmental disabilities due to their own age-related disability.
  • Additional residential development is critical and NEEDS TO BE FUNDED in the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 State budget.


  • Fortunately, New York State seems to be moving away from a plan to close all sheltered workshops through the conversion to integrated businesses. This is important since:
    • Jobs for people with significant disabilities are very scarce. Only 22 percent of working age people with cognitive disabilities are employed.
    • Many people with developmental disabilities and their families have come to rely on workshops for longstanding friendships, a paycheck, and fulfillment.
    • Approximately 8,000 people now attend workshop programs. Roughly 4,000 individuals with significant disabilities, for whom employment is extremely difficult to find, would be displaced.
    • The Legislature should PASS THE EMPLOYMENT FIRST CHOICE ACT (S.3893 by Young/A.5959 by Gunther) giving people the choice to remain in a workshop and work with providers to clear roadblocks to the transition of workshops into integrated businesses.


  • Direct Support Professionals, our frontline staff, are the backbone of services for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.
  • The NYS Labor Commissioner has approved a plan to enact a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers.
  • The Governor and Legislature MUST ENSURE that frontline workers RECEIVE at least THE SAME AS fast food workers and that the STATE FUNDS these costs in nonprofit agency rates.
  • Failure to require and fund a commensurate wage increase for nonprofits would force providers to reduce services as staff would leave for better paying jobs.

St. Lawrence NYSARC Instructions
for “It Matters to Me” Legislative Contacts


  • Contact your Legislator and ask for their support of one, or all of the issues below. SHARE YOUR STORY – What does “It Matters To Me” mean to you:
    • New residential funding in the 2016-2017 state budget. NYSARC is asking that 50% of all residential slots be reserved for people living at home.
    • Employment choice.
    • New wage funding for all direct support professionals in this state budget.

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush| District 117| Email:
District Office Phone: (315) 493-3909| Albany Office Phone: (518) 455-5797

Assemblyman Billy Jones| District 115| Email:
District Office Phone: (518) 562-1986| Albany Office Phone: (518) 455-5943

Assemblyman Marc Butler| District 118| Email:
District Office Phone: (315) 866-1632| Albany Office Phone: (518) 455-5393

Assemblywoman Addie Jenne| District 116| Email:
District Office Phone: (315) 386-2037| Albany Office Phone: (518) 455-5545

Senator Joseph A. Griffo| 47th District| Email:
District Office Phone: (315) 793-9072| Albany Office Phone: (518) 455-3334

Senator Betty Little| 45th District| Email:
District Office Phone: (518) 561-2430| Albany Office Phone: (518) 455-2811

Senator Patty Ritchie| 48th District| Email:
District Office Phone: (315) 393-3024| Albany Office Phone: (518)455-3438

  • Please send your own letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and SHARE YOUR STORY! Ask the Governor to include new residential funding, wage increases for Direct Support Professionals, and employment choice in the state budget.

Governor Andrew Cuomo| Email:
Governor’s Phone: (518) 474-8390| NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224

  • Please write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper sharing the key issues in the “It Matters To Me” campaign. DON’T FORGET – SHARE YOUR STORY!
  • A visit with your legislator is the best way to share your story. If you would like help in arranging a personal meeting with your representative please contact Daphne Pickert at or by phone at (315) 379-9531.