Editor’s note: The letter refers to our ongoing coverage of the Cindy Hagen guardianship case.
To the editor:
Surely people to fill vacant positions is a problem, but a greater problem is the low pay. When I can go to McDonald’s where I live and make more money, or across into North Dakota and make $22 an hour doing the same work, there is a problem with pay in Minnesota. As long as we buy into the narrative it is a lack of people to work it is difficult to point to the real problem as I see it.
For us in northwest Minnesota services for people with disabilities started to suffer as soon as the state let out-of-region businesses say they can provide home services in our area when they have no offices or staff. Minnesota has the best services on paper but in practice it is dismal. North Dakota is light years ahead of Minnesota and it is a very conservative State, their legislators see the value in funding community-based services and its long-term savings. It is despicable that guardianship is used to try to take a person’s freedom away because the State cannot design nor fund programming for rural areas. Options assisted more than 100 people from either going into or preventing placement into institutional care last year in North Dakota where services work. In contrast in Minnesota we assisted three people to file ADA complaints because they ended up in institutions due to underfunded poorly designed programs. rural North Dakota has more in common with northwest Minnesota than the metro so why can you find help in North Dakota?
THEY DESIGN PROGRAMMING FOR RURAL AREAS AND FUND PROGRAMMING!
Randy Sorenson, Executive Director
Options Resource Center for Independent Living, East Grand Forks