'Dire impact of COVID-19': Coalition calls on Gov. Evers to prioritize people with disabilities, families in budget

NOW: ’Dire impact of COVID-19’: Coalition calls on Gov. Evers to prioritize people with disabilities, families in budget

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A new survey is helping understand the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having people with disabilities and their families in Wisconsin.

The survey was conducted by the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations and included talking with 300 people. The coalition is calling on Governor Evers to prioritize people with disabilities and their families in the budget.

“Survey results are really showing the dire impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities and families across the state,” Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations Co-chair Lisa Pugh said.

The findings show there are significant impacts on jobs, homes and mental health because of the pandemic.

“About a third of families who responded to the survey said they actually lost their jobs during the pandemic,” Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations Co-chair Beth Swedeen said. “Forty percent incurred additional debt as a result and one in eight families of children with disabilities lost their homes.”

Additionally, more than half of the people surveyed said they have concerns about lasting depression and isolation. A Milwaukee mom spoke about her son’s experience.

“I worry about the skills he’s lost,” Beth Mortl said. “I worry about the fact they he and so many other young adults with disabilities lost their community jobs.”

Pugh explained there needs to be more state funding.

“There needs to be increased funding and supports for students with disabilities,” she said. “Support for the recommendations in the governor’s task force on caregiving… investments in mental health and behavioral supports.”

The coalition is made up of 25 state and local organizations across Wisconsin. The survey was conducted at the end of 2020.

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