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Atlanta Autism Consortium calls for Autism community help

June 17, 2020

Our autism community needs your help now more than ever.

The State of Georgia is undergoing a severe budgetary crisis due to COVID-19 and economic downturn. As part of the response to Governor Kemp’s required reduction of 14% in budget expenses, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) has proposed drastic budget cuts that will directly impact individuals who have an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD).  These budget cuts include:

  • No New NOW/COMP Waiver Slots
  • Elimination of all Family Support Funding
  • Autism Funding Reduction
  • Supported Housing Reduction
  • Assistive Technology Reduction

There are more than 6,000 people on waiting lists for services in Georgia, and currently only about 10% of Georgians with disabilities receive any kind of service. These budget cuts, such as eliminating Family Support Funding, will only result in intensifying the struggles for many families in Georgia.

You can help.  The legislature returns to session TODAY.  Welcome them with your voice.

How can you get involved?

  1. Develop your Family Impact Statement. Share how these proposed cuts will impact you personally.  The best stories are short and sweet, revealing your loved ones interests and goals and emphasizing the supports they need to have an independent life.  Make it short – less than 1 page, and include a picture.
  1. Contact your legislators. Contacting legislators directly is powerful.  Their decisions are based on feedback from their constituents.  As elected officials, they are charged with representing your interests.

To find your legislator’s, go to Open States, Find Your Legislators, (https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/).

  1. Enter your address.
  2. You will get the links to your Senator (Upper Chamber) and Representative (Lower Chamber).
  3. Click on the links to both legislators to get their email addresses and phone numbers.
  4. Send your Family Impact Statement in an email to your legislators and then call their Capitol office number.

Next, call and email your Family Impact Statement to the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs:

  1. House: Katie Dempsey, 404.463.2248,  katie.dempsey@house.ga.gov  
  2. Senate:  Rene Unterman  404-463-1368,  renee.unterman@senate.ga.gov
  3. Don’t forget the Governor! 404-656-1776,  https://gov.georgia.gov/contact-us/constituent-services 


3. Share your Family Impact Statement on social media, using the hashtag #CutsCauseCrisis. Encourage your friends and family to do the same!


4. Sign the petition to Save Georgia Disability Services on Change.org.
Cuts to the budget must be made with our families in mind. The solution cannot be to simply eliminate entire programs and supports to a community that is already experiencing some of the greatest need in Georgia.

Your voice can make a difference. Thank you for speaking up and speaking out for our autism community!


Siobhan Alvarez
Executive Director
Atlanta Autism Consortium

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