WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti (92ND District,Greenburgh) March 1, 2015:
“The Governor’s budget is a disaster for people with special needs,” said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti following a Joint Budget Hearing on Mental Hygiene.
“The proposed $31 million cut in the OPWDD budget comes at a time when today’s needs are not being met and there will soon be even more people needing help.”
(Last year, WPCNR reported the Governor wanted to cut over $300 Million from the OPWDD, but was forced to restore it due to concentrated opposition by the legislature after concentrated protest by parents, advocates and service organizations who care for the disabled..)
Abinanti expressed concern that OPWDD had to be represented by a Deputy Commissioner because for quite some time OPWDD hasn’t had a commissioner to advocate for the department.
Abinanti noted that there is no new money proposed for residential services even though the Deputy Commissioner admitted that there are about 11,000 people who now need or will soon need housing. The Deputy Commissioner stated that there were about 6,500 people on a housing waiting list with some 5,000 more registered for future housing. She explained that the department was concentrating on providing housing in emergency situations.
“We are properly closing down large institutions – saving some $60 million – but the money should be reinvested in community residences, not used to subsidize other parts of the state budget,” said Abinanti.
“The executive budget is a further cutback of already insufficient help for people who need it,” said the Westchester Assemblyman.