Developmental Disabilities only get $250 a year for clothing from OPWDD, they need more.

Developmental Disabilities only get $250 a year for clothing from OPWDD, they need more.

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Rodlane Bien-Aise started this petition to Acting Commissioner Kerry Delaney

Specifically what I would like to bring more attention to the yearly clothing stipend that the people we support receive. As you may well know, they receive $250.00 to purchase new clothing for the year; $125 in the fall and spring. My reason in writing to you today is to ask for your assistance in bringing about more awareness that this amount is simply not enough

Before I begin, please allow me to introduce myself and history of working with this population. My name is Rodlane Bien-Aise and I am currently employed with ACLD as a team coordinator for respite services. I began with the agency as a Direct Support Professional in a residential IRA. I spent several years at this same residence and after graduating college I was promoted to the Assistant Manager. It was here that I first saw the difficulties of only having $125 to spend for clothes, is simply not enough.

We are consistently told by upper management that the people we support must look presentable and dress well. As a DSP I found this extremely frustrating when I was shopping for my residents, that they would pick out certain clothes and I sadly had to tell them that they could not afford to buy it. It was equally frustrating when I was promoted to a supervisor, remembering my own experiences and then having to repeat the same mantra to my staff. Yet I could offer them no more support or advice than I had.

The people we support depend on the yearly amount that they receive to buy clothes appropriate for each season. They depend on it because many of them cannot work for themselves. Even if they are able to work, they are limited on the hours as to not endanger their benefits. Shopping for clothes as we know from our own personal experience is not cheap. For example, the proper winter attire such as a coat, scarf, gloves and boots can cost approximately $100. Now with the budget the people we support receive, $125 is not enough to shop for clothes for winter and fall. The people support commonly shop at Walmart or Savers. Savers usually sells second-hand clothing which are often old, warn and therefore easily damaged. They do not last very long or even protect them during the seasons how they are supposed to.

People with developmental disabilities have the option to shop any other place they like but what can they really afford with such low budget? The vast majority of clothing stores can have items that cost anywhere from $50-$100 for just 2 or 3 outfits. That is not including undergarments they will need, such as socks and underwear. The people we support should be given the same opportunities treated fair and equally just like everyone else. They should be able to shop wherever they want without any limitations. The average person spends about 161$ for clothing each month. The people we support are very limited to what they can buy with such a low budget.

As a community, there is something that certainly needs to be done to get the mentally disabled more money to get better quality clothes. That will save so much time from going and constantly buying them new clothes because they get damaged. If they can get better quality clothes, there will be no need to take them out shopping so frequently. They will also have the luxury of going to any shopping outlet that they want just like everyone else. They won’t feel so limited to what they can and cannot buy with their money. I ask that we take this into consideration and come up with a better budget for the people we support.

 

 

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