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Mayor Kim Norton Declares "Direct Support Professionals Week"

September 09, 2019 05:38 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Mayor Kim Norton officially declared this week “Direct Support Professionals Week.”
 
She issued a proclamation in front of dozens of direct support professionals (DSP) and community members Monday.
 
It’s an effort to recognize their work caring for people with disabilities and raise awareness about the issues facing employees in this field. 

"I learned particularly as a legislator when self-advocates came to the capital how very important their care providers are to them. How meaningful it is to have the same care provider for long periods of time and how sad they feel when the direct support service provider leaves for another job or moves on,” said Mayor Norton.
 
It’s something that happens frequently.

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"It makes me really sad to see they have 50% turnover,” she said.
 
Kelsey Holst has been a DSP for four months. Already she has seen the impact of that turnover on clients when a colleague left earlier this year.  

"It’s hard for them and they ask for her and at the end of the day everyone else chooses their own path and there is nothing we can do about it," said Holst.
 
However, she added that better pay could make a difference. 

"It would definitely keep people a lot longer. I know it’s a struggle for people to pay their bills on a wage like we get,” she said.
 
Due to last year’s state-wide budget approval, DSPs will see a nearly 5% wage increase over the next four years, starting in January, 

Holst thinks changes like this could make a big difference.  

"It's hard to go home at the end of the day. You have a great day but know you are not going to have enough to make it through,” she said.
 
She hopes to see more support for employees who dedicate their lives to supporting others. 

A survey with the data from 17 states, which didn't include Minnesota or Iowa, found the median hourly wage to be around $12 an hour.

Credits

Talia Milavetz

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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