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Letter: Cuomo’s budget proposal will hurt disabled people

Cuomo’s budget proposal will hurt disabled people

A a special educator and the legal guardian of my younger brother, who has mental retardation, it frightens me to learn of the ramifications of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal. My family is fortunate that our brother, Bob, has lived in a group home for the past 20 years. In this setting, Bob receives the level of care and support needed to be successful. My siblings and I have our own homes and families and in Bob’s eyes, the group home is his home. Although he enjoys spending time with us for various gatherings, he is not hesitant to announce that he’s ready to go home.

What would life be like for us as a family if this arrangement were no longer available to Bob? My siblings and I lead busy lives that involve working and raising our own families. Our father has passed away and our mother is remarried. She remains an integral part of Bob’s life, advocating for his well being both in the sheltered workshop and his group home. My mother and I have had candid discussions about her aging and concerns that Bob would never “fit” into her new life as a permanent living arrangement for him.

For these reasons and those of many others, I urge the governor and local legislatures to include additional funding for the development of new opportunities within the community for people with developmental disabilities. Families cannot be caregivers forever.

Tracy E. Tone