Action Alert: June 1, 2018

Posted by The Arc of North Carolina

North Carolinians:  Please call your General Assembly representatives today!

Solution Needed to Fund Group Homes in NC for the Long-Term

Support Senate Bill 780

Background information:

Funding for group homes is in crisis. We need your help to support a long-term solution for stable group home funding. Legislators are currently reviewing proposed legislation (Senate Bill 780) to help protect and sustain funding for group homes.  If Senate Bill (SB) 780 is not approved, many more group homes could close, leaving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) or severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) with limited options that include hospitalization or homeless shelters.

  • -There are 4,098 individuals with I/DD living in 890 group homes in NC.  Only 45% of these individuals have Innovations Waiver funding that provides for their housing needs.  The remaining 55% of residents have unstable and inadequate funding for residential services.
  • There are 1,369 individuals with SPMI living in 235 group homes in North Carolina. Most of these residents have unstable and inadequate funding for residential services.
  • -Vacancy rates fluctuate from 7% to 25% in these homes because there is no money to fund new residents.
  • -As of today, 2,217 individuals with I/DD and 1,369 people with SPMI are waiting to be placed in group homes in North Carolina. There are current vacancies where people could have homes, but there are no dollars available to support their services.
  • -There has been no cost of living adjustments for group home funding since 1991.
  • -Funding was significantly reduced in 2013, and since that time there has only been temporary funding appropriated each year.
  • -Some group homes are closing their doors.  Right now, The Arc of North Carolina has 23 beds in four group homes that are empty and could be used to provide needed housing for individuals with I/DD or SPMI if adequate funding was available.  Across the state, The Arc of NC has another 166 current vacancies for people with I/DD and SPMI who need supportive housing.
  • -People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the right to live in residential settings that meet their individuals needs according to NC General Statute.  If more group homes close, it will be much more expensive for North Carolina to develop new homes or open institutional beds, especially in response to any lawsuits filed over this issue.
  • -The bill requires the state to develop a plan in the next year to improve the funding model for group homes.
  • -We anticipate that the long-term funding needed to support the plan will be included in the budget discussions for 2019-2021, and we encourage the General Assembly to support that funding next year.

  What can you do to help?

   Call your Senators and Representatives today and tell them that you need them to support a long-term solution for group home funding, and ask them to support Senate Bill 780.   Introduce yourself and tell the staffer the city and county where you live. If you have a family member or loved one who lives in a group home, or you have any kind of personal connection to the group home or the residents it supports (now or in the future), that is extremely valuable. 

Here are the talking points when you are asking your representative to SUPPORT SB780.

  • -North Carolina has more than 5,000 people with disabilities that live in these group homes. 
  • -The group home funding model has not been updated since the 1980s.  
  • -There have been no inflationary increases in group home funding since 1991. 
  • -Vacancy rates in group homes vary from 7% to 25% because there is not enough money to fill vacancies. 
  • -Some group homes are closing.  Right now, The Arc of North Carolina has four homes that are empty and could be used to provide needed housing for people with disabilities if adequate funding was available.
  • -Ask your representative to please support Senate Bill 780 - now!
  • -The bill requires the state to develop a plan in the next year to improve the funding model for group homes.

1.  Remember to thank the person that you are speaking with for their time and write their name down so you’ll remember.  Also, please shoot an email to info@arcnc.org and let us know how the conversation went.  If you have any questions, please email the address above, or you can call The Arc of NC at 1-800-662-8706.

2.  Please share this information with at least three people within your network and encourage them to make the same phone call. 

3.  If you are a user of social media, please tag your representative in any posts you make about this issue on social media.  Please use the hashtag #grouphomefundingcrisis and please tag The Arc of North Carolina in your post. 

Thank you for making your voice heard.  Over and over again, we are told that the disability community contains some of the strongest voices our legislators hear.  We sincerely appreciate your efforts.

 

Yours sincerely,

The Arc of North Carolina’s Advocacy Team