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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez visits day program center in the Bronx, discusses salaries and funding

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited a day program center for adults with disabilities in the Bronx Tuesday to discuss their needs.

News 12 Staff

Mar 22, 2022, 9:32 PM

Updated 820 days ago

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited a day program center for adults with disabilities in the Bronx Tuesday to discuss their needs. 
Ocasio-Cortez asked the staff at the YAI multiservice center about their salary. “It's really critical that we recognize that all of our staff need to be compensated better if federal and state government increased the amount of funding for Medicaid services,” said Scott Karolidis, director of government relations. 
The center offers group home support, social programs and more to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
The main topic of discussion Tuesday was how she could help increase funding for agencies like these. 
"We teach the people we support here to advocate for themselves, this is one of our biggest things, but you come home and you say, who's speaking for me?" said Jesus Valentin, a direct support professional. 
Most of the staff say they make a minimum hourly wage and that some of them have to work overtime or even pick up a second job to make ends meet. 
Funding from the federal level could mean better pay for staff and for agencies like YAI to hire more professionals. 
Ocasio-Cortez says she is vouching for these workers as she fights for increased Medicaid. 


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