Supportive Living Advocacy Day 2016
Over 800 advocates, direct support professionals and families rallied at the state capitol to voice concerns on funding for supportive living services. A number of speakers voiced concern about funding to pay for direct support professional wages has not kept pace with inflation, resulting in high turnover rates statewide and the inability to support all of those that are eligible for services. The rally was a great representation of the many direct support professionals across the state that provide valuable services to the over 4000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the state. Currently the state has only increased funding to match the same rates that were received in 2009. This underfunding of supportive living programs has created a placement crisis whereby staff turnover is so great we are not able to support all of the individuals that have been approved for supportive living services. "A Living Wage for Supportive Living", "Equal Pay for Equal Work", "Wage Parity Now", "Direct Support Staff Deserve A Living Wage" were strong messages that could be seen and heard at the rally.
Governor Inslee's Proclamation
In August, Governor Jay Inslee signed a proclamation acknowledging September 13th through the 19th, 2015 to be National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. This long overdue recognition is welcomed by Supportive Living providers across the state. This proclamation explains the problems that our Direct Support Staff face while doing extremely important work with our state's most vulnerable citizens. Click here to view the Governor's Proclamation.
Please share this information with your legislators and other concerned citizens of Washington, as it is important that Direct Support Staff receive adequate pay for the work that they do. It is not only important to the staff, but also to the people we support as consistency of staff is vitally important to the success of each individual.
In July, 2015 employees were recognized for their hard work and dedication in supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. Seven employees stood out and were further acknowledged in their outstanding achievements. Certificates of achievement were awarded to this group of employees along with a gift card to say thank you for their achievements.
- Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Client Health and Safety - Zavaroni R, Bellevue branch
- Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Client Power and Choice - Yannick, D Bellevue branch
- Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Client Competence - Orianna R, Clarkston branch
- Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Client Integration Opportunities - James T, Yakima branch
- Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Client Relationships - Judy C, Bellevue branch
- Dan Baker Outstanding Direct Support Professional Award - Sabrina B, Kent branch
- Halford Commitment to Excellence Award - Paula R, Clarkston branch
These individuals were nominated by their peers and we as an agency are very proud of their hard work, dedication and their commitment.
Supportive Living Advocacy Day
Community Living participated in the Supportive Living Advocacy Day in Olympia this past February 25th, 2015. This event was sponsored by the Community Residential Services Association and was a huge success. Community Living was represented by more than 60 direct support staff, managers and individuals we support. One of the highlights of the day was Governor Jay Inslee speaking at the rally.
This rally was designed to bring attention to the great work that is being done, day in and day out working with some of the most vulnerable citizens in the state of Washington. This day also brought attention to the severity of the funding issues that supportive living providers across the state face.
In the past six years providers have had one increase to funding which restored less than half of what was cut in 2009 and 2011. This underfunding of supportive living programs has created a placement crisis whereby staff turnover is so great that providers are not able to support all of the individuals that have been approved for supportive living services. Additionally, with the current funding providers have challenges in meeting the obligations of the Seattle Minimum wage and the Affordable Care Act.
Funding is critical to ensure that citizens of Washington State that are eligible to receive supportive living services are able to do so. It is also critical that providers are able to attract and maintain direct support staff to provide essential services to these citizens, and it is important that these dedicated staff get a living wage for the work that they do.
Now Serving Clarkston
Community Living is proud to announce that services are now being provided to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Community Living has been developing a team of dedicated direct support staff to provide services to 24 individuals living in the city of Clarkston. Our team is very excited about being chosen to provide these necessary services to this community, individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families.
45 Years Strong
Community Living celebrates 45 years of dedicated service to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Opening as Spring Acres Group Homes in 1969, community Living has now grown to support over 150 people with developmental disabilities in several communities in Yakima and King Counties. Community Living prides itself on individualized teaching and training supports in all aspects of daily living.
Yakima Hiking Club
The Yakima branch of Community Living has developed a hiking club to encourage people to see the beauty of nature and to help with fitness. This club has been positively accepted by its participants and has been recognized by the state and the community. This group has gone on several hikes around the Yakima area and is open to any members of the local disabled community, their friends, families and staff. For more information about this club and its scheduled hikes, contact the Yakima branch of Community Living.
Dan Baker Staff Appreciation Day
Dan Baker Staff Appreciation Day is in honor of Dan Baker, parent of a person living in the Yakima Community Living program and long time board member, who also served eight terms as Community Living Board President. Mr. Baker is a long time advocate of Direct Support Staff and of the dedicated work they do. Since his retirement from the Community Living Board, in recognition of his dedicated work, Community Living has set aside a day each summer to recognize all Direct Support Staff in the work that they do. Staff were recognized this past summer by the management teams of each of the four Community Living branches.