NorthStar Services continues fight for increased state funding
As the Nebraska legislature’s 2020 session draws closer some service providers are already spreading the word about their fight for more funding.
"With our budgetary restraints, and the way the cost of living has gone up, it makes it real difficult, so we partner with other agencies to try to influence the legislature and make them understand everything that it takes to provide quality services for people," NorthStar support supervisor Elizabeth Milligan said.
NorthStar Services is a service provide that assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The funding they and many other providers receive to perform their services comes in the form of reimbursements from the state. Providers like NorthStar can’t provide all the services they would like because of lack of funding. It’s also caused there to be a wait list of well over one-thousand waiting to receive care.
"It is quite frustrating," NorthStar area director Robyn Hurlbert said. "I've had, as I'm sure Elizabeth has, families call and say, 'I need services and I need them now.' All we can do is help them the best we can by saying who's here you need to go talk to."
Those at NorthStar believe right now, when the legislature is not in session, is actually the best time for people to talk to state senators about the issue.
"When they're coming around, they're doing maybe town hall meetings and things like that, attending those things and asking directly what is your thoughts or how do you feel about people with disabilities and how they should be supported," Hurlbert said.
Once the legislators return to Lincoln though, the testifying and campaigning will resume at the capitol as well.
"Our CEO actually testifies in front of many committees annually to help with budgeting and just reimbursement for our services," Milligan said.