The Arc of Virginia to hold “Walk to End the Wait” on September 29

 On September 29, The Arc of Virginia will be holding a statewide advocacy event in Richmond calling on Governor McAuliffe and the General Assembly to uphold  the Commonwealth’s commitments to properly implement the Settlement Agreement for quality integrated community services and to eliminate the I/DD Waiver waiting lists.

The Arc of Virginia’s “Walk and Roll to End the Wait” rally will begin at 10am at the Bell Tower in Capitol Square, marching past the Virginia General Assembly Building, Governor’s Mansion, Executive Offices and ending on the steps of the Capitol. Hundreds of people with I/DD, family members and concerned citizens from all areas of the Commonwealth are anticipated to participate in the event.

Virginia is currently ranked 45th in the country for its services for people with I/DD.  More than 10,000 Virginians with I/DD are on waiting lists for community-based services (I/DD Waivers) that prevent costly and unnecessary institutionalization.  Over 50% of these individuals have been identified as being in urgent need for reasons such as living with an aging or ill caregiver, risk of homelessness, risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation, or aging out of a publicly funded residential placement.

Last week the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief describing how the Commonwealth is not in compliance with the settlement agreement, causing harm to thousands of Virginians with I/DD and their families. Federal Judge John Gibney will hold an open hearing to address the Commonwealth’s compliance on October 23.  The Commonwealth entered into the 2012 agreement with the United States to resolve issues raised in a 2011 U.S. Department of Justice Findings Letter that outlined how the Commonwealth was violating the rights of Virginians with I/DD by failing to provide services in the most integrated setting.

If funded, The Arc’s proposal would help more than 17,000 Virginians with I/DD and their families, as well as aid the Commonwealth in addressing its areas of non-compliance.  “This is a historic opportunity for the Governor and General Assembly to improve the lives of thousands of Virginians”, said The Arc of Virginia President Shareen Young-Chavez.  “For decades, Virginians with I/DD and their families have languished on a never-ending waiting list and have continued to wait for opportunities to live A Life Like Yours.  The time to act is now.”