To the editor:
The COVID-19 crisis presents challenges that most of us have never experienced. For Ohioans with disabilities, the outbreak, and measures implemented to slow it, are even more difficult. Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) is seeing firsthand how this crisis is further isolating our clients. Under “normal” circumstances, people with disabilities face far more daily barriers than the rest of us. Add shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures to the mix, and services become disrupted and the isolation people with disabilities so often feel is exacerbated. The truth is, it is impossible to practice these measures when you are in need of hands-on daily care and assistance.
We are gratified that Ohio recognizes that our advocacy services are critical. Now, more than ever, we need to empower the people who count on us for essential advocacy and provide the support they need to endure this terribly difficult time. While DRO has moved its operations remotely, our dedicated staff is managing our call-in line. Because we, too, are working from home, the intake line is not “live.” But systems are in place to respond to calls as quickly as possible. Please call 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181, and press option 5 and leave a voicemail.
In addition, DRO is posting informational resources and FAQ’s on our website, addressing the various concerns our clients may have at this time. Please visit our COVID-19 resource page for this information.
We recognize that the need has never been greater for Ohioans with disabilities. DRO stands ready to meet the challenges they face, and working together, we will weather this current crisis.
Executive director, Disability Rights Ohio