My name is Adam Cullen, and I am a direct support professional (DSP) working for Hammer Residences in Wayzata, Minnesota. My employment as a DSP is one of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of my life; I love the people I serve and the difference I make in their lives. However, the job comes with many challenges that have recently increased. In the state of Minnesota, DSP’s are not properly compensated for the work they do. Wages are low. It is routine for myself and my coworkers to work 50-55 hours or more of over time every week just to get by.
As we are all becoming aware, the state is seeing a staffing shortage in this field due in large part to the lack of a living wage. The shortages, on top of the new demands only further impedes the people we serve. There is a greater possibility that activities, outings, meals, showers and baths are delayed because staff are busy hunting and retrieving medicines. Parents are also wondering why things that were once high priorities and are no longer have become frustrated with employees.
The burden of staff shortages is falling on our most disadvantaged populations, and the people that work long hours to support them. Please support efforts to increase the wage rate for DSPs, and contact legislators to advocate for people with disabilities. Thank you.
For the legislators representing Hammer homes, please use the find your legislator button on Hammer.org’s advocacy page. If you need further assistance, or need templates, samples, suggestions or ideas, contact Mary Gaasch at MaryG@hammer.org.