Eden Autism hosts Assemblyman Daniel Benson for group home tour

Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-14) visited one of Eden’s residences last week to learn more about the work direct support professionals conduct in a group home setting.

Benson visited a residence in his hometown of Hamilton. He met participants and DSPs and discussed their work, the day-to-day activities in the group home, and how their work has enabled participants to live their lives to the fullest extent of their abilities.

Assemblyman Daniel Benson with Eden Autism officials, trustees, participants, and DSPs at a group home in Hamilton.

Benson, who serves on the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, is touring group homes across the state ahead of the June 30 FY20 budget deadline. The Coalition for a DSP Living Wage is asking lawmakers to secure $54 million of state funding for competitive DSP wages, which will also secure a federal match.

“Assemblyman Benson is one of our strongest supporters in the legislature and we appreciate the time he took to visit,” said Maureen Shea, NJACP Director of Government Affairs.

During the visit, Benson discussed several key issues with Eden Autism President and CEO Michael Decker and the DSPs working in the home, including wages, transportation, and Medicaid funding.

Benson said the request for an increase in funding for DSP wages has his full support. As Chairperson of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Benson also said he will follow up on a few transportation issues. In addition, the Assemblyman agreed to submit a resolution for at-risk youth “on the spot” at the visit.

“We are grateful for Assemblyman Benson’s commitment to supporting direct support professionals across New Jersey,” said Eden Autism President and CEO Michael Decker. “We must work together to secure competitive wages for direct support professionals, and having support in the legislature is a critical step toward achieving this goal.”

Become an advocate

With the budget deadline fast approaching, it’s critical that lawmakers see the faces and hear the voices of the thousands of people across New Jersey who support raising wages for direct support professionals. The DSP Coalition is asking people to participate in a picture campaign to tell lawmakers that #WeCan’tWait for #PayFair4DirectCare — $54 million is needed to secure competitive wages for DSPs.

Here’s what to do:

1) Print the template: Print and sign your name to the bottom of the message. Click here for the template.

2) Take the picture: Have someone take a picture of you holding the template. Take a close up, so the wording on the sign is legible.

3) Upload and post: Post the picture on your social media pages with the message: “#WeCantWait for #PayFair4DirectCare – @GovMurphy @NJSenatePres @SpeakerCoughlin $54million is needed in FY20 to raise DSP wages! @NJDSPCoalition.”

Feel free to write your own post, but be sure to use #PayFair4DirectCare and tag lawmakers and the Coalition in your message.

4) Share with friends: Share the picture template with your colleagues, friends, and family members to encourage them to participate. The more faces online, the stronger our message to lawmakers!

Don’t have Twitter or Facebook? You can still participate! Email your picture to or text it to 609-577-1993 and your post will be shared on the Coalition for a DSP Living Wage Twitter and Facebook pages.