People with disabilities meet with legislators

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BOSTON (WWLP) – 70% of people with disabilities are unemployed. They told 22News that they want to feel safe, included and free in their communities.

The Arc of Massachusetts supports more than 180,000 people with disabilities and the group met with state lawmakers to make sure they’re treated equally.

Without adequate assistance, many people with developmental and intellectual disabilities find themselves in difficult circumstances.

“Without any help from support staff, I would be lost; I would not have a good house to live in,” said Karen Cusick.

That’s why people with disabilities, their families and supporters gathered at the State House to ensure that they can feel safe and included in their communities, as well as free to make their own choices. Groups like The Arc of Massachusetts are now pushing for support on a bill that would require national background checks to ensure the right people are caring for those with disabilities.

The Arc also supports a program called Blueprint to Success, which will increase employment opportunities to those with intellectual disabilities.

“They’re entitled to the same civil rights as we all are. The unemployment rate for people with developmental disabilities is in the 70-percentile, and that’s not acceptable,” said Kristin Britton of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.

These groups hope that state lawmakers will hear their stories and not only provide support, but also more funding so that they can build better housing and increase employment.

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