Candlelight vigil to show support for disabled and elderly fighting budget cuts
RICHLAND, Wash. --Proposed budget cuts threaten to eliminate medication coverage as well as support services for hundreds of thousands of elderly and people with disabilities. Monday afternoon people affected and their families as well as six organizations in the Tri-Cities carried signs, lit candles for a vigil at John Dam Plaza. The protesters say about 500,000 adults on Medicare and Medicaid in Washington will no longer be able to get pharmacy coverage..
They say many will no longer be able to get support help, most of which are vulnerable adults who are either elderly or disabled. One worry from the Director of Programs at Columbia Industries, Kay Hamilton, is losing funding to keep people with disabilities employed.
She says because of the funding, they are able to put almost 300 people locally to work."They lose their respect for themselves, they sit at home, no one want to do that. it doesn't matter if you have a disability or not. so they lose that identity, that self respect," says Hamilton.
Hamilton says the Division of Developmental Disabilities pays a big chunk of the money it takes to keep people with disabilities working , and that funding is what they may end up losing She says it costs about $35-$45 dollars an hour to train them to work.