Published: March 27, 2020
Categories: Press Release
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders of four human services trade associations today called on the Administration and the Legislature to provide “immediate emergency relief” to the community-based human services sector that cares for one-in-ten state residents.
The sector, which contains nearly 180,000 jobs across the Commonwealth, is “on the precipice of collapse without aggressive action from state government,” noted the leaders of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare, the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers, the Children’s League of Massachusetts and the Providers’ Council. The four organizations represent nearly 300 community-based nonprofits that provide critical services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, people with mental health or addiction issues, women and elders seeking protection from abuse, and residents who are homeless or hungry – just to name a few.
A recent survey of providers responded that nearly 30% had less than 16 days cash on hand and over half had less than 31 days cash on hand. In addition, some have initiated staff reductions and virtually all will be laying off staff without additional financial resources.
“While we appreciate the attention received from the Administration and Legislature, we must underscore that our community homes and shelters, with thousands in our care, are on the precipice of collapse without aggressive action from state leaders, and we need more immediate emergency relief,” noted Michael Weekes, President/CEO of the Providers’ Council. “To date, more than 500 community day programs and all child care programs have closed. Providers are reviewing options to protect the health and safety of clients and staff.”
The four associations noted three main items that are needed immediately:
“Safety net providers are doing their best to ensure that individuals who are highly vulnerable continue to receive care,” said ABH President/CEO Lydia Conley. “Their ability to continue to do so is in jeopardy without appropriate staffing and supplies.”
The association executives noted that while the state has moved quickly on several issues related to COVID-19, the community-based human services community – that cares for one-in-ten state residents – needs more assistance immediately.
“We appreciate that the Administration and Legislature are under considerable pressure with a myriad of needs to be met,” noted Children’s League President/CEO Tammy Mello. “It is our hope that aggressively addressing these issues in providing service to our state’s vulnerable residents will mitigate the need for these residents to enter hospitals and further stress our health care system.”
“The Administration and Legislature do understand the tremendous pressure on human services. The issue is time,” added Ellen Attaliades, President/CEO of ADDP. “Without immediate funding to maintain programs and continue agency operations, providers will not be able to fulfill their role as the safety net during and after this pandemic.”
Contact: Michael Weekes
ABOUT THE TRADE ASSOCIATIONS:
Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers • https://www.addp.org/
Association for Behavioral Healthcare • https://www.abhmass.org/
Children’s League of Massachusetts • https://www.childrensleague.org/
Providers’ Council • https://providers.org/