Advocates push for more funding for disabled people during pandemic

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Disability rights advocates are saying people most in need aren’t getting necessary care during the coronavirus pandemic.

Advocates said it’s time for Congress to pass a new coronavirus relief bill, but this one should put the focus on vulnerable Americans. They’re asking that billions of dollars for disabled Americans be included.

Some people are worried that if quality at-home care isn’t available for disabled people that they would have to go into an assisted living home.

“People ought to have a choice before you enter a facility that appear to be very dangerous,” said Mike Oxford with the group Kansas ADAPT. “Congregate settings have shown up to be hot spots where the COVID infection can really happen quickly through a large number of people.”

Oxford said more money is needed to keep good home and community based services, but also to provide emergency housing if needed.

Supporters said money that has been in past coronavirus bills would be better spent on people instead of big corporations.

“A lot of the funding went to people or organizations that already had money, so it takes much longer to filter down from the bottom, and if you don’t help those at the bottom first, then everyone is not helped,” advocate Oshara Hayes said.

Advocates said there is a lot that could be addressed with additional funding.

“Protective gear is still real spotty around the country and here, people need more flexible and enhanced services and certainly the workers deserve more than 10 bucks and hour to risk their lives,” Oxford said.

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