The care economy is not working for most of us. Older adults and people with disabilities who need support at home are struggling to pay for care or going without. Home care workers and attendants are underpaid and undervalued, with many leaving the profession for higher paying jobs. Family and friends are providing care without any public support or safety to help them forcing many to quit their jobs or paying caregivers out of pocket eating away at their own savings.
Our representatives must pass the $400 billion investment in Home and Community Based Services to transform this crisis. On August 27, Hand in Hand alongside our partners in the Long-Term Services and Supports for All Grassroots Coalition collected 400 stories from workers, consumers and families and delivered them to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to urge her and her colleagues to do the right thing.
Here are just a few of those 400 stories.
Amanda Bueno “I am a supporter of the Pilipino Workers Center since its early days and a certified In-Home Supportive Services (HSS) family care provider for my mother. She is in her mid-80’s, and she has become very weak in the past four or five years. I cannot imagine how my mother would have made it without access to homecare. My mother doesn’t have savings; she just relies on her Social Security as her source of income, which is not much. She is unable to afford professional homecare services. The availability of homecare is of critical importance, especially because many elderly want to be cared for in their homes. We need to recognize that instead of ignoring it.”
Carrie Madden “I have a disability called Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. I have been using a power wheelchair for the past 30 years. I have an IHSS worker named ‘Gigi’. Gigi helps me with everyday things like cooking, cleaning, laundry and many other things. One day I was transferring out of my wheelchair and I slipped. Thank god for Gigi. I would have hit the floor without her help. She is priceless to me! Without Gigi, I could not live in my house. It would become a hazard because I cannot keep it clean. Also, I would be at risk of injury. I rely on Gigi for a lot! I wish IHSS would pay more. She works 5 jobs. No one should have to do that.”
Jennifer Kumiyama “I was born with Arthrogryposis and use a wheelchair for 100% of my mobility needs. I have limited range of motion in all of my limbs, prohibiting me from bathing, dressing, eating and doing most household chores without assistance. My primary caregiver for 38 years of my life was my stepmom. She passed away in 2020 from cancer and I had to learn to live life without her. Having recently qualified to receive IHSS, I’m fortunate to have a caregiver to help me do the things I need to help me complete tasks so that I can make it to and from work. There needs to be a security net for me and for caregivers.”
Monique Harris “I was born with spasdic cerebral palsy, which has limited my mobility and impacted my ability to do things such as feed and dress myself. Thus, I have employed homecare attendants for over 30 years. With attendant support, I’ve been able to live on my own, have a career as a graphic artist, run my own business and raise my son. When my son Brandon was born, Dianne, one of my attendants and a member of her family supported us 24 hours a day, even though she was only paid for 9 hours a day by IHSS. Their support made it possible for me to raise my son and complete my schooling. Personal care assistance is important work and the people who do it deserve good pay and benefits. Yet they aren’t compensated well. And this has driven many good people out of this career. As a result, there is a huge home care worker shortfall leaving people like me without the support we need to live independently. I’ve been without an evening and weekend attendant for nearly a year.”
Yoana Sorto “Being able to age at one’s home is important because it provides the clients the freedom to continue to do their activities/routine even if it’s something that gets a little bit harder throughout years but as long as they have someone helping them, things can be much easier. I’ve worked with people in their homes and others at senior homes and you can tell the big difference. I like to do the work I do because it allows me to learn about different people, their lives and provide them with the help I wish and hope my family and I get when we get to that point in life. I believe us homecare workers deserve good pay because not everyone is capable of doing this, you need to have compassion as well as patience. It can be mentally and physically exhausting and sometimes clients and relatives may be rude and not be appreciative.”
TAKE ACTION FOR HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED SERVICES NOW!
Our elected leaders need to hear from us! Join us by contacting Speaker Nancy Pelosi to share your story and support!
You can call her at 202-225-4965
Or submit a written comment at https://www.speaker.gov/contact
When you call or write, introduce yourself. Then you can say: “I am calling to ask Speaker Pelosi to support the $400 billion investment in home and community-based services in the budget reconciliation bill.
Then share your personal reason, or you can say: “Everyone who needs care should be able to get it, and home care workers need higher wages.”
If you want to take action on social media, use our toolkit here with graphics included!
The California-based Long-Term Services and Supports for All Grassroots Coalition members are:
California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA), CA Domestic Workers Coalition, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), Caring Across Generations, Disability Organizing Network, Filipino Advocates for Justice, Gray Panthers, Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network, Jobs with Justice SF, Pilipino Workers Center, San Francisco Women’s Collective, Senior and Disability Action, SEIU 1021 Retirees, SEIU 2015, United Domestic Workers AFSCME, and UNITEHERE Local 2 Retirees.
To get involved or learn more, contact Lindsay Imai-Hong at [email protected].