CRSA’s Response to DRW’s Lawsuit

Continued underfunding of Community Residential Services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has left supported living providers with funding that does not allow for adequate wages for our direct care staff, leading to a staffing crisis throughout Washington.  The Community Residential Services Association (CRSA) applauds the Disability Rights Washington’s lawsuit highlighting the plight of people with developmental disabilities who want to live in our communities.

Over the past four years, turnover has dramatically increased by 57% as funding has not been allocated to address the wage and staffing issues.  As such, turnover in essential Direct Support Professional positions has now increased to over 50%!  Consistent long-term staffing is essential to serving people with complex support needs.

Due to the low wages that result in significant difficulties with recruiting staff to challenging work, 10.8% of all Direct Support positions are open at any given time.  The plaintiffs in this case all experienced barriers to access to community residential services because of this staffing crisis.  And these plaintiffs are not alone.  The inability to fully staff homes has resulted in many supported living agencies not accepting new clients and persistent vacancies in current homes.

The Supported living is a system in crisis.  Funding for staff wages has been ignored for years and must be increased dramatically to stabilize this system and meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities currently being served, as well as those wishing to move out of costly institutional settings or from their family’s homes.