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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 23, 2019 04:56 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Brandon J. Markosek
To: All House members
Subject: Deafblind Support Service Providers
In the near future, we plan to re-introduce legislation that will codify an expiring grant program which has provided a lifeline for many deaf and blind Pennsylvanians by providing access to support service providers who facilitate communication and provide sighted guidance.

Pennsylvanians who are deafblind have been shuttered for too long at home without a way to connect with their communities. Support Service Providers (SSP’s) provide critical support in the day-to-day activities and tasks. Support service providers are trained to assist deafblind individuals specifically by providing environmental information and acting as a guide and communication facilitator.

In 2014, the Department of Labor and Industry allocated a pilot grant to start a statewide support service provider program in Pennsylvania. This program has since allowed many more deafblind Pennsylvanians to access their communities and avoid costly in-home care or nursing home placement. Since the pilot grant’s inception, funding and hours for SSP’s have been reduced, meaning that consumers who utilize SSP’s had to cram a month’s worth of tasks into fifteen (15) hours.

We are moving in the wrong direction; to ensure this program continues to succeed in supporting individuals who are deafblind, my legislation would codify the grant program into statute and indexes to inflation to ensure that Pennsylvanians who need these services and trained professionals know this is a sustainable reliable program that meets their needs in a meaningful way. It is imperative that deafblind Pennsylvanians continue to enjoy services that empower them to live more independent lives. Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

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Introduced as HB2188