Recently, the New York State Legislature has held hearings on the impact of COVID-19 upon nursing homes in the Empire State. Other hearings have been held to discuss COVID-19 in the context of mass transit, education, and elections.
Former Asm. Harvey Weisenberg believes that an additional set of hearings is needed to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the developmentally disabled.
For years, Weisenberg has been known for his advocacy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. (The Assemblymember’s son, Ricky, is a developmentally-disabled group home resident. Ricky and his father are pictured above.) According to Spectrum News, Weisenberg asserts that workers in group homes for the developmentally disabled have been “‘overlooked when it came to protective gear and basic necessities.’” Weisenberg added that he donated $10,000 of his own money to provide masks and other personal protective equipment to group homes for the developmentally disabled, including the facility where his son resides. Weisenberg expressed concern that state agencies had dropped the ball in regard to group homes during the pandemic; he proposes to hold hearings on safety, staffing, funding, and inspections.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms shares Asm. Weisenberg’s concern about the developmentally disabled. Just as the State of New York must protect vulnerable nursing home residents—and the frontline workers who care for them—from the spread of COVID-19, it must also protect vulnerable developmentally disabled New Yorkers. The shortage of personal protective equipment was a major problem during the early days of the pandemic. It is a problem that cannot be allowed to recur.