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Your Voice Counts

Voice countsFor more than 40 years, Every Citizen Has Opportunities, Inc. (ECHO) has been providing vocational support, day support and transportation services to adults with intellectual, ‪‎mental health and ‪‎physical disabilities in ‪‎Loudoun and Fairfax Counties.

We are currently facing the end of a six year contract with Loudoun County in which the funding has remained stagnant over the past 6 years and we have been informed that no increase will be made to any renewed contracts. As we all know prices never remain the same and each year we must adjust our costs to reflect the increases we incur. At this time we require an increase in funding of $178,000 to maintain the current level of service for individuals in our programs. This represents only a 13% increase over the rates we have received for the last six years.

If there is no increase in funding, as is presently planned in the Loudoun County proposed budget, the amount of services we provide to those who benefit from the ECHO programs will be jeopardized. At our current service levels we are serving over 165 individuals from ages 19 – 72. We need the increase to maintain the current level of services to all of these people. 
We would need even more funding to accommodate bringing anyone new into our programs, unless someone leaves. Each year there are a number of new individuals looking to enter our programs; some people are referred to us from the LCPS Special Education Department as the students graduate, others are referred through the Loudoun County Community Services Board, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and various other organizations that support adults with developmental disabilities. Our waiting list currently has 12 individuals, the person on top of our waiting list has been on the list 18 months. The next person in line has been on the list 15 months. In June of this year we anticipate six high school graduates to be in need of ECHO services and in June of 2017, seven graduates to be in need of our services. We would need additional Loudoun County funding to accept any of these individuals into our programs.

To address this funding divide, we ask that you add your voice to the plea to increase our funding. Please call, send an email or letter to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors representatives to express your support for our new contract and an increase in funds. Please take immediate action since Loudoun County is in the last stages of finalizing the budget for the 2017 fiscal year which begins July 1, 2016. Your voice matters!

Bill Haney

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