United Cerebral Palsy (UCP/CLASS) is the third-largest nonprofit organization serving people with disabilities in Allegheny County. We are concerned about the effect of the budget impasse and cutbacks proposed in several bills on our participants and other vulnerable members of our community.
Pennsylvania has the second-largest population of senior citizens of all states. Many thousands of people with disabilities receive state-subsidized in-home supports that allow them to stay at home at much lower cost than if they had to go to a nursing home. Like other Pennsylvania nonprofits, we are borrowing money to maintain these services to people who depend on us for survival during the budget impasse.
Most Pennsylvanians are working poor and middle-class people who are one crisis away from needing the human service safety net that provides in-home personal assistance and other life-sustaining services including child care, public education, income support, housing, health insurance, prescriptions and tangible help. Even at current funding levels, thousands of citizens with developmental disabilities in Pennsylvania are on waiting lists for "emergency" services. We find it unimaginable that some elected officials have proposed balancing the state budget with reductions that would result in thousands of citizens losing services or going on longer waiting lists.
During the current recession that has our nation in its grip, most people are doing what they can to help friends, neighbors and those vulnerable members of our communities. We at UCP/CLASS call on elected officials to pass a budget now that provides increased revenues from a tax increase or other reliable sources so that the human services safety net is maintained.
Director of Public Policy and Community Relations