Valerie, a Direct Support Provider (DSP), has been working with St. John’s for over eight years. In that time she has helped Nelson, one of the individuals we support, break out of his shell. He now enjoys time in the community, does his own housekeeping, and has plans for the future. SJCS and Nelson are lucky to have Valerie.
Valerie’s job is not easy, but it is rewarding. She is a critical part of our work helping individuals like Nelson live their best life. Right now, the District of Columbia City Council is considering raising the minimum wage for DSPs. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do for DSPs, specifically in a city where the cost of living has been rising exponentially.
Currently, the national annual turnover rate is 45% every year. That level of turnover raises costs for providers like SJCS, and is a disruption in the lives of those we support. As a nation and as an organization, we are reaching a crisis in finding dependable, caring DSPs. As the national minimum wage rises without a change in DSP wages, organizations like SJCS will face even more competition for high-quality staff invested in our work. We want to ensure that our staff can focus on those we support, not worrying about how they will make ends meet or if they need to take on another job.
St. John’s Community Services strongly supports the passage of the Direct Support Professional Payment Rate Act of 2019. This act is a step in the right direction of caring for members of our community in need of extra support and also for those who make it their career to care for them. This issue is important to SJCS. We hope that you will let your council members know that this issue is important to you as well! Make your opinion heard! Contact your City Council Members’ office and Share your support for the DSP Rate Act on social media and tag your City Council Member. Let’s ensure quality care and support for everyone in the District!