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PathPoint Hosts Town Hall Meeting to Discuss Proposed Budget Cuts

Attendees focus on the need to fulfill obligations under the Lanterman Act

The nonprofit organization PathPoint hosted a town hall meeting to discuss potential California budget cuts and their effects on community-based service providers and service recipients.

PathPoint’s South Santa Barbara Division Director Alana Walczak spoke about the effects of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget cuts to a group of concerned community members, many of whom are family members of PathPoint participants.

Founded in Santa Barbara in 1964, the mission of PathPoint is to provide comprehensive training and support services that empower people with disabilities or disadvantages to live and work as valued members of their communities.

PathPoint provides independent living, day and employment services to the more than 2,600 people within San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Kern and Los Angeles counties.

Attendees expressed concern that drastic budget cuts — Brown requested $750 million to the Department of Developmental Services — would violate the conditions set forth in the Lanterman Act. The California law, passed in 1969, mandates that people with developmental disabilities and their families have a right to get the services and supports they need to live like people without disabilities.

PathPoint CEO Cindy Burton urged Sacramento to “keep budget cuts as far away from the individuals served as possible and maintain California’s ability to fulfill its obligations under the Lanterman Act.”

Everyone at the meeting was mindful of the realities the state faces, but they suggested spreading the impacts of the cuts across all of the Department of Developmental Services rather than singling out the service providing nonprofits that bear the load of caring for individuals with disabilities. If nonprofits are the sole recipient of these cuts, many, if not most, would cease to exist. Ultimately this may result in a return to a system of institutionalization for those with disabilities — system that is more expensive for taxpayers and less humane for society.

PathPoint has hosted similar informational meetings at their Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles county divisions during the past few weeks.

For more information about PathPoint, click here, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 805.966.3310.

— Joey Corazza is a development coordinator for PathPoint.

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