The Governor’s Executive Fiscal Year 2023 Budget proposal exemplifies her commitment to people with developmental disabilities by growing State spending on OPWDD programs by nearly $500 million to $4.5 billion – an increase of almost 12 percent.
The Governor’s Executive Budget proposal directly addresses the workforce shortage by committing over $300 million for several initiatives, including providing a 5.4 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for service providers, new resources that will be prioritized to address critical agency operational issues, such as enhanced wages, ongoing recruitment and retention of direct care, support and clinical staff. In addition, the Budget provides recruitment and retention bonuses to healthcare and mental hygiene staff in the State and non-profit sectors of up to $3,000.
The budget proposal also provides OPWDD with nearly $23 million to address the costs of developing, accessing and maintaining housing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, including $13 million to increase housing subsidies available through the Individual Supports and Services (ISS) and Self-Direction programs to help people live more independently in their communities. The budget also includes an additional $15 million in new capital funding to continue efforts to expand the availability of affordable and integrated housing opportunities.
As in prior years, the proposed budget includes $30 million in new State resources to support new services for OPWDD-eligible individuals and their families. These resources support the full array of OPWDD-funded services, including residential, respite, day habilitation, employment and other services.
To improve employment for people with developmental disabilities, the proposed Budget provides more than $2 million to fund employment training opportunities.
Other investments include $10 million for contract costs of assessing and reassessing children in the OPWDD system, $20 million to modernize OPWDD’s information technology platforms to improve data collection and reporting, and $5 million to expand the availability of crisis resources that are designed to support people living at home or independently in their communities.
To enhance the coordination of services across state agencies, the budget also establishes the Office of the Chief Disability Officer.
OPWDD thanks Governor Hochul for her leadership and her continued support of people with developmental disabilities. We would also like to thank all of our stakeholders for their partnership which made these significant proposed investments possible. We look forward to these proposals being included in the final enacted budget on April 1.