Miller, Walsh, Ra: Fighting for All

June 10, 2020

Assemblywoman Melissa “Missy” Miller (R,C,I-Atlantic Beach) and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston) and Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) are teaming up to advocate for the safe and responsible reopening of group home visitation and Day Hab programs.

As Miller is ranker on the Assembly Mental Health Committee and Walsh is ranker on the Assembly Education Committee, the two are fully aware of how important in-person programs are to the vulnerable, special-needs population of individuals. Miller, Walsh and Ra have sent letters to Gov. Cuomo, Dr. Kastner of OPWDD and Dr. Zucker of the Department of Health, sharing stories of New Yorkers and expressing their hope that these homes and programs can reopen along with the rest of the state.

“As our state takes steps to safely reopen, we need to provide families with the opportunity to reunite. Three months without seeing a loved one, especially their loved one with special needs, is far too long. The mental health impacts this can have on them and their parents is devastating,” said Miller. “Day Hab programs provide special-needs adults with critically important social interactions and the opportunities to work on their skills, and as many have regressed, it’s time to allow them to progress once again. I’m happy to be working alongside Assemblymembers Walsh and Ra to advocate for so many families across our state.”

“Our state continues to see the impacts of coronavirus lessen each day, and as such, it’s only right we allow individuals in group homes to reunite with their families. Socialization with family members and friends and structure is so important for this population. Those enrolled in Day Hab programs should be allowed, under safe social-distancing protocols, to continue working on their skills with friends,” said Walsh. “Assemblywoman Miller tirelessly advocates for our special-needs population, and I’m proud to join forces with her and Assemblyman Ra to campaign for the safe reopening of group home visitation and Day Hab programs.”

"As we see infection rates continue to decline, it's essential we allow special-needs families to reunite in our group homes by restoring visitation opportunities. Additionally, it's time to resume the Day Hab programs that provide special-needs New Yorkers with much-needed socialization and rewarding skill-building opportunities. It's common sense, it's past due and I'm appreciative of Assemblywoman Miller for leading the way on this issue. If it's safe for people to eat brunch on a patio, it's embarrassing that we haven't prioritized a way to do right by our special-needs community. Let's change that now," said Ra.

To view a video bringing families stories to light, please click here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ndO0RVyQ1s&feature=youtu.be)

The joint letter is attached.