Home care workers and providers rallied outside of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Manhattan office Friday to demand funding for the Fair Pay for Home Care Act be included in her final state budget proposal. The mandate would raise homecare wages to 150% of the minimum wage, making their wages between $19.80 and $22.50.
Dozens representing more than 150 nonprofits showed up for the rally, which came amidst a continuing home care worker shortage, worsened by COVID-19 and low wages. The elderly population is projected to grow by 25% between 2021-2040 in New York State, at the same time the home care shortage is projected to increase exponentially. By 2028, New York will have nearly 1 million job openings.
“Seventy six percent of homecare agencies are turning away potential clients, and these are seniors and disabled [people] who need homecare services,” Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese Planning Council told New York Nonprofit Media outside Hochul’s office in Manhattan during Friday’s rally.
“So it’s the ethical thing to do to pay our workers 50% more. It's the ethical thing to do to make sure we have better care for seniors and the disabled,” Ho said. “ t's also the fiscally responsible thing to do because by investing in fair pay for home care, we know it also brings back $6 billion in economic opportunity and economic activity to New York State.”
Editor's note: Ho also is a member of NYN Media’s nonprofit advisory board.