MONROE, LA. (KTVE/KARD)– According to ARCO leaders, the organization has had the same budget since 2002. Now in 2021, it’s not enough to keep employees.
“When our rates were set, minimum wage really was $5.15,” Roma Kidd, Executive Director of Arco, said. “You know it’s hard to compete with any other business out there and pay a wage that people can live on, so being able to support the individuals who provide the support is what we need to accomplish here.”
State funding is what keeps organizations, like ARCO, going. Steve Murray, ARCO Board President, said they are concerned because they don’t have the funds they need.
“Without this funding we can’t afford to pay our employees an acceptable wage that will allow organizations like ARCO to continue to survive. It’s that serious,” Murray said.
Joshua Cranford is an ARCO participant. His parents, Pat and Jimmy Cranford, said they are very dependent on ARCO, because Joshua needs 24 hour care.
“So it’s very important for us to have staff available to take care of him as we are aging, it’s more difficult for us to manage him at home.,” Pat Cranford said.
Pat Cranford said this funding is not only crucial for the families who depend on ARCO, but also the families of the workers who live off of these wages.
“And we really hope that we can get this money so we can have staff as needed and pay them what they are worth,” Cranford said.
This funding would help ARCO continue to offer their free services to families who couldn’t afford it otherwise.
“These people can’t speak for themselves,” Murray said. “We are their voice, and we need our legislatures to hear that.”
Leaders said they are only asking for half of what they know they need, but not having had the appropriate amount in decades, so half would be welcomed.