The depth of the current COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic greatly impacts Minnesotans with disabilities, their family members, and support professionals — many of whom experience even greater challenges during public health crises such as this due to underlying health conditions, low income, and food/housing insecurity.

This also comes at a time when the current network of disability supports is at the brink of collapse due to the widespread workforce shortage. Providers need flexibility to support individuals in new and different ways immediately to preserve access to services and avoid unnecessary hospitalization during this public health crisis.

With Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-12, the Department of Human Services has received the necessary authority to help ensure that Minnesotans with disabilities and others utilizing safety net supports have access to essential programs and services.

“Today’s Executive Order provides desperately-needed clarity for people with disabilities, their families, and service providers. We applaud the Governor’s efforts to give the Minnesota Department of Human Services added flexibility to respond to this crisis as it continues to develop, while addressing critical and time-sensitive supports that individuals need to remain healthy and stable,” said Judy Marder, Best Life Alliance.

“We’re also deeply grateful that, in developing this order, the Governor and state agency representatives included critical consumer protection and legislative oversight language, and appreciate mechanisms being put in place to ensure consistent and clear communication as the components of the order are implemented,” added Andrea Zuber, The Arc Minnesota.

While this Executive Order helps overcome short-term barriers to service access, long-term solutions are still needed.

“Minnesota’s infrastructure of supports for people with disabilities, as well as advocacy organizations that work to uphold individuals’ rights - must be a primary consideration as future emergency funding packages are considered at the federal and state levels, and we encourage future legislative action to address these ongoing needs”.  (Jeff Bangsberg, Metropolitan Centers for Independent Living & PCA Reform Coalition)

For more information about the Best Life Alliance: http://www.bestlifealliance.org/

For more information about The Arc Minnesota: https://arcminnesota.org/

For more information about the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities: https://www.mnccd.org

For more information about the PCA Reform Coalition: https://www.facebook.com/PCAReformCoalition/

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