Coalition Calls on Lawmakers to Take Action
Hispanic Marylanders have unequal access to disability services, according to a new analysis of recently released statewide data. In light of these findings, members of the Enriqueciendo Vidas (“enriching lives”) coalition called on Governor Wes Moore’s administration and elected officials across the state to take action in a letter on October 23, 2023.
The analysis found that while 12 percent of Maryland’s population is Hispanic, four percent or less of the people accessing disability services are Hispanic. This disparity was found across the board in housing programs, vocational rehabilitation services, and long-term services for people with developmental disabilities.
“This is the first time we’ve seen statewide data that paints a clear picture of disparities in care for people with disabilities based on ethnicity,” said Lisa Lorraine, chair of the Enriqueciendo Vidas coalition, which conducted the analysis, and manager of Jubilee Association of Maryland’s Breaking Barriers program. The coalition is made up of 20 disability service providers throughout the state.
The analysis used data from the Maryland Department of Health, Maryland State Department of Education, and Maryland Department of Disabilities to examine the demographics of people receiving disability services in Maryland. This is the first time all three departments have publicly released data for review.
The group is asking the government to:
- Require Language Access Plans and provide funding for their implementation.
- Fund grants to the nonprofit sector to provide outreach, education, training, and individualized guidance to underserved populations.
The group is encourages concerned citizens to add their voice to the recommendations by signing on to the letter here.