This statement is available as a PDF here.
ASAN is relieved to see that, after a year of relentless advocacy by the disability community, Congress has finally begun to address the needs of people with disabilities in the latest COVID-relief package. At long last, the Senate has approved a relief bill which includes a small amount of emergency funding for home and community-based services, including funding that can be used to move people with disabilities out of dangerous congregate settings.
For the past year, while the disability community has begged our elected officials to care, hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities have died in institutions where COVID-19 has spread like wildfire. While these funds have been horrifically delayed, we urge states to use them as quickly as possible to save lives for the duration of the pandemic.
We thank our grassroots for their persistent, unyielding advocacy. Every phone call, email, and tweet made a difference. It is thanks to their dogged work that Congress was finally compelled to do the right thing. We also recognize that the devastating impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities is due in large part to structural factors that were in place well before COVID-19 existed, including systemic racism, Medicaid’s institutional bias, and inadequate funding for home and community-based services. We will continue to advocate for lawmakers to address the roots of this crisis and make the investments needed to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities. We work to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. Nothing About Us, Without Us!