OpEd: Ongoing Staffing Crisis Hurts Life’s WORC and Community

Life's WORC staffing crisis
Courtesy Life’s WORC

As we as a nation and state approach the third year of a staffing crisis, for agencies like ours, which often faced hiring challenges due to budgets and pay rates set by the government even before the pandemic, the situation is becoming dire.

At Life’s WORC, we provide care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities 24 hours a day, across 45 homes and 12 day programs. However, many of these positions we rely on to do so are at a minimum wage pay rate. With so much competition for employees, a job providing the level of care expected and needed for the people we support often loses out to less-demanding jobs in other industries.

This is a huge concern for us as an organization. Coupled with the challenges caused by inflation, the uncertainty of the housing market and the ongoing pandemic, the risks posed by being short-staffed are great to the people we support. Ensuring high-quality care at all times is our top priority, but we need help.

This help can come in the form of relief from local and state government as we continue to ask them to establish a living wage for our DSPs so that we are able to retain the excellent staff we have and can begin to attract more once again. We need everyone to reach out to local officials and advocate for the people we support.

The challenges Life’s WORC is facing to recruit and retain staff also has an impact that reaches beyond the people we support. Without the high number of DSPs working in our homes that we are accustomed to, we are not as able to take the people we support out in the community – to local shops, restaurants and other businesses. The ripple effect on the local economy can be felt throughout the region. 

If you or someone you know would like a career where they can truly make a difference in the life of others, please visit www.LifesWORC.org/Careers to apply today. 

Editor’s note: Life’s WORC was founded by Victoria Schneps-Yunis, founding president of Schneps Media, the parent company of Long Island Press.