Vt. disability advocates push lawmakers for increased funding

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Hundreds of Vermonters with disabilities gathered at the Statehouse for Disability Awareness Day Wednesday.

A key priority for the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights is securing higher pay for direct care workers who help Vermonters with disabilities remain at home.

"It feels like we're going backward, not forward. So when we talk about shifting the balance, we're talking about returning to the Vermont values of the rights of people to live and get services in their communities, not in institutions," said the coalition's Julie Cunningham. "We've had eight years of budget cuts or level funding. A couple of years we were given some funds. We are nowhere near parity with the state employees or with hospital employees."

The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights says it's important for lawmakers to hear firsthand about the experiences of people with disabilities.