The waiting list for group homes for Maine adults with intellectual disabilities is 1,580 people deep as nonprofits struggle to find workers to staff homes.
The Portland Press Herald reports that's up from 110 in 2008, when reimbursement rates allowed nonprofits to pay above the minimum wage. Workers now earn the voter-approved minimum wage of $11 an hour, which jumps to $12 in January.
Bills to increase reimbursement rates for group homes funded by both state and federal Medicaid dollars are stalled. But the state plans to analyze the rates by January.
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Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Jackie Farwell says the agency's working to remove 167 people from the list.
The Maine Coalition for Housing and Quality Services website shows 1,703 people on the waiting list in May 2018.