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L’Arche Advocates Visit Richmond

Photo: Charles Clark, Eva-Elizabeth Chisholm, and Yuko Gruber visited delegates in Richmond to encourage support for Virginians with I/DD.

More than 9,000 Virginians who have intellectual and developmental disabilities are currently on waiting lists to receive community-based services like residential support, supported employment, and case management. Ranked 49th in the country for its care for people with disabilities, Virginia would need to grow by 61 percent to accommodate for current needs.

On January 26, L’Arche advocates Charles Clark, Eva-Elizabeth Chisholm, and Yuko Gruber joined a contingent from the Arc of Northern Virginia to visit representatives in Richmond to ask for their support. Specifically, the group was asking for additional Medicaid Waiver “slots” — and the funding to go with them—to help move people off wait lists, and a cost-effective way to proceed with the Commonwealth’s plan to close three of the four remaining state-operated training centers (large institutions for adults who have disabilities).

Inclement weather forced a cancelation of the rally the Arc had planned, but L’Arche members were able to meet with democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez of the 49th District.

“Delegate Lopez is in support of increasing the number of I/DD waivers so we didn’t have to do much convincing,” Yuko said. When asked what else they could do to ensure the Arc’s legislative agenda is passed and enacted he gave them names of his Republican colleagues who could use a nudge.

“We know that waivers enable us to live fulfilling and dignified lives, and we desire the same for other Virginians,” Yuko said.

Because of the waiver, Charles Clark explained to Delegate Lopez, he has independence. In a different setting and without the waiver, he wouldn’t have the flexibility to do meaningful work, form lasting and mutual relationships, and participate in life-giving activities like fulfilling his lifetime dream of visiting England last fall.

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Become an advocate

• Learn more about L’Arche by attending one of our Heart of L’Arche tours. Within the space of an hour we highlight the people and mission of L’Arche through stories from our life together.

• Get involved with the Arc of Northern Virginia (or another local chapter) and sign up for their advocacy alerts. Every voice matters—and you can make a difference by contacting your local representatives by phone, email, or in person.

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