The Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign met with Governor Tom Wolf on Monday, April 18, 2016 and brought your family’s needs to the table. The Governor is diligently working with the Legislature to secure additional funding for many human services and educational needs. This budget is still $2 Billion in the red. Increasing the numbers of people in the current proposed waiting list initiative has little chance of being achieved unless there is additional revenue appropriated. This meeting with the Governor opened a door with this administration for meetings directly with his staff.
The Governor took notes and seemed very interested in the High School Initiative, a newly proposed Supporting Families Waiver and Aging Initiatives. The High School initiative would allow graduating young adults the freedom to move directly into community supports instead of waiting months after graduation for paperwork and approval. The Family Support Waiver capped at $65K, would allow more people to remain at home instead of moving into group homes or ICF’s. The Person Family Support Waiver funding, currently capped at $30K is often not always enough to support an individual at home when their needs continue to grow as they get older. $65K is the average of what people on the Consolidated Waiver use. So this would benefit a larger portion of the population. We pressed the issue of Aging Caregivers and Caregivers who need additional support. We stressed the need for supports to be available for people to age in place and help for us to begin the process of developing a new kind of living support in the community for our sons and daughters.
The Governor and his Policy Secretary said they have a plan to End the Wait by 2020! The Governor had a lot of questions for us. He asked what we envisioned for our adult sons and daughter’s future. He understood the need for graduates to get into jobs and the community quickly so families could continue uninterrupted work. He also recognized that we were creating jobs for people. We also talked about people living on the edge, losing everything and some dying. We were honest. We covered a lot of issues. He listened.
We left the meeting with Governor Wolf feeling very optimistic about his understanding of our issues and his commitment to working with us to resolve them. Governor Wolf promised to meet with families at Vision for Equality in Philadelphia and also ACHEIVA in Pittsburgh. We are going to work with the Governor’s Policy and Education Secretaries and the Office of Developmental Programs to bring your needs for a better future for your loved ones to the forefront.
This meeting was a positive first step.