Dear Coalition for a DSP Living Wage:

It’s budget GO time! Members of the Coalition are already busy meeting with legislators and testifying before the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees on the need to invest in a living wage for direct support professionals, starting with a $1.25 increase in FY2019.

Special thanks to all the DSPs, self-advocates, parents, family members, and providers who came out to the budget hearings in late March/early April to make their voice heard. We’re certainly off to a great start, but there’s much more work to be done to secure funds in FY2019 to raise DSP wages by $1.25. This is where you come in!

We need your help keeping this issue front and center with policymakers. Please consider taking advantage of these opportunities to get involved and make your voice heard during this critical time:

  1. Send an Email to the Chairs of the Senate & Assembly Budget Committees or find your legislator to contact directly:
  • Senator Paul Sarlo, Chair, Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee (sensarlo@njleg.org)
  • Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, Chairwoman, Assembly Budget Committee (aswpintormarin@njleg.org)

Sample Email (Please personalize where possible to reflect that you are an individual with I/DD, a family member or a DSP)

Dear Chairman Sarlo and Chairwoman Pintor Marin:

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities depend on Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to live successful, integrated lives in communities across the state.

Unfortunately, the starting salary for these jobs is only $10.50 an hour and after years without an increase, the system is now facing a workforce crisis. Low wages have led to a 44% turnover rate and a 20% vacancy rate and the State must take action to turn things around.

DSPs are the foundation of the community-based service delivery system and their low wages fail to compensate them for the highly-skilled, complex and vital work that they do. To stabilize the Direct Support Professional workforce, New Jersey must begin to bring wages in line with the vast responsibility and importance of the job. With that in mind, I respectfully ask for your support to raise wages for DSPs by $1.25 an hour in the FY19 Budget.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

Attend Senate/Assembly Budget Hearing & Show Your Support at NJ State House, Trenton

In May, NJ Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson will be testifying before the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees. Please join us in the audience on one or both of the dates noted below, so that we can show a large unified presence in support of a living wage for DSPs, starting with securing funds in the FY2019 budget to increase wages by a $1.25. Here are the details:

Tuesday, May 8th at 10 am
Senate Budget Committee,
Room 4 in the State House Annex
125 West State Street, Trenton

Monday, May 14 at 10 am
Assembly Budget Committee
Room 11 in the State House Annex
125 West State Street, Trenton

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