Staffing Shortage of Providers for People with Disabilities Causes Issues for Families in Southeast Minnesota

March 30, 2017 11:18 PM

(ABC 6 News) – Day service and residential providers for people with disabilities are saying there’s a “staffing crisis” being felt across the state, including in southeast Minnesota.

"Due to low wages, more than 8,700 unfilled home and community based service provider positions exist in Minnesota," Hiawatha Homes CEO Cindy Ostraowski told us. 


Hiawatha Homes has a turnover rate as high as 65 percent, and currently have 40 open positions. Rochester area providers have openings for residents, but can't let more people in due to their limited staff, which also creates problems for parents trying to find at-home care.

Adrienne Payne's son, J’amez, has autism and is non-verbal. She's especially had trouble finding a direct care worker for him.

"Trying to find staff that would do everything I would do, or close to, is extremely hard," Payne said. "We had people here talking about their companies and where their companies stand right now, but they're not talking about the families at home who don't have respite, who don't have in-home, who don't have the services that they deserve to help their families."

Payne’s forced to work her full-time job and be a full-time caregiver at home.

"The biggest problem that I come into is I don't want to supervise staff at home and supervise staff at work. I actually want to be a mom," Payne said.  

Like any parent, she just wants the best for her child.

"I want him to have every opportunity that I have. I want him to be able to go out and experience the world like any kid," Payne said.  

One possible solution could be the Best Life Alliance bill, which has been introduced at the capitol. It asks for a consecutive 4 percent wage increase for more than 80,000 direct care workers in Minnesota. The wage increase would go into effect July 1st, if the bill is passed. 


Elise Romas

Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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