Published: May 3, 2022
It is state budget season and Bridgewell needs your help. We are actively advocating for the state of Massachusetts to increase our funding so we can increase wages for our direct care staff. Governor Baker has allocated $230 million to Chapter 257, the budget line item that funds our services. Along with other community-based human services organizations, Bridgewell is asking that the Chapter 257 line item be increased by $351 million, to $581 million, which would bring hourly wages to a median of $20.34. Please help us voice this need to your state senator! Your voice matters. They will act if they hear from enough of their constituents. Please reach out to them via social media and by email and ask them to increase Chapter 257 by $351 million. Let them hear your stories.
Below is a letter template for you to personalize and send to your Senators.
Dear Senator [Last Name],
As a [title/role], and a resident of [your town], I support the well-being and safety of the many individuals who rely upon our agency’s services. [Please feel free to instead include specifics about your work/agency in the preceding sentence.] But like many of my peers in human services, I believe that salaries, which are determined by state reimbursement rates, do not reflect the vital nature of our work helping people with behavioral health issues, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or those experiencing homelessness, family instability, or other challenges.
Providers across Massachusetts face high job vacancy rates, and my colleagues are leaving for higher paying and less stressful jobs. Pandemic-induced exhaustion and the rising cost of housing, gas and groceries make a career in human services less viable.
To keep agencies staffed and providing the care our most vulnerable neighbors need, the state must boost wages to just over $20 an hour – a fair, living wage. It will take $581 million in state investment to reach this mark and help us address the workforce crisis so we can serve more people in need. We need the state Senate, including you, to support my peers and the people we serve by paying human services professionals a living wage.
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