Ohio sending COVID relief money to groups that help disabled

shared courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio- Disability service providers throughout the state have struggled under operational extremes since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, facing overwhelming needs on the residential front but diminished demand for adult-day programs and transportation.

People with developmental disabilities, like everyone else, have hunkered down.

But more time at home means more at-home support. And less participation in the so-called day programs that offer employment, recreation and other activities.

“Like in any crisis, you rally and meet the coming obstacle,” said Mark Schlater of Toward Independence, a large disability-services organization in southwestern Ohio. “We’re proud of our staff. But they’re tired. They need a break. We cover 25% more hours with less or equal the staff we had in February.”

The shifting demands generated by the pandemic have been especially difficult for a low-wage industry that was suffering a workforce shortage long before the virus emerged.