On Special Needs Issues

Our best option to help people with special needs is to increase the availability of self-directed services.—Larry Sharpe

In spite of the large sums of money New York has dedicated to helping people with special needs, the state continues to provide subpar services. Larry Sharpe knows that our best option to end this injustice is to increase the availability of self-directed services. This will enable them to pick and choose the accommodations they want, allowing individuals to meet their own unique needs.

Fundamental Program Reforms

Instead of funding a large bureaucracy that simply checks boxes on a form, the dollars allocated to this program would be put into Healthcare Debit Accounts (HCDAs). They will be able to pay for their necessary services by swiping a card. If the recipient already has a HCDA, the money will be added to their existing account so there is only one card for them to keep track of.

Innovative Funding

Larry will allow for the funding and creation of “community hangouts”. In these non-profit centers, people with special needs can meet to socialize, help one another, and receive guidance from volunteers. These community hangouts will be exempt from many of the strangling restrictions the state currently has in place. These restrictions assume that all people with special needs are incompetent, but many are fully capable of making their own decisions without a paternalistic government making decisions for them. Removing these restrictions will encourage these community hangouts to be established and readily available to provide free or low cost support to those who may need it. We expect many of these organizations will freely associate with specific types of special needs cases but it will not be required by the state to enable each community to meet its own needs.

The Community Tax Credit (CTC), which lets taxpayers choose a charitable organization to support with pretax dollars, will be a mechanism through which these services can be funded as well. We anticipate it will be a popular mechanism for donations to charities designed to benefit those with special needs.