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LA County’s Home Care Workforce to Board of Supervisors: “Try to walk a day in our shoes and make ends meet for your family”
Caregivers Throughout Los Angeles Delivered Cost-of-Living Boards and Urged Elected Officials to Invest in the County’s Home Care Program Known as In-Home Supportive Services
LOS ANGELES – Today, SEIU 2015 home care workers of the In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) called on the LA County Board of Supervisors to try spending a day in their lives and making ends meet earning meager wages that make it impossible to survive in today’s economy. Presently, for example, housing alone is $1,545 a month (this is not including all other basic living expenses) and IHSS caregivers earn just under $1,800 a month.
Today’s action comes as contract negotiations with county leaders are underway as their current contract expired in July 2017. For several months, union members have met with county officials to discuss the importance of continuing to invest in the IHSS program, a program that allows low-income seniors and people with disabilities to remain at home, where they want to be, and receive life-saving care such as wound treatment, administration of medication, and breathing and feeding tube treatment. And while these caregivers are integral members of the community, studies have shown that 81% of these workers currently live in poverty.
To stress this point, and urge county leaders to invest in the IHSS program before there are no more workers left to care for the county’s seniors and people with disabilities, SEIU 2015 union members showcased how difficult it is to stay committed to their work when they can’t make ends meet. Additionally, they invited the Board of Supervisors to walk a day in their shoes so they can experience what it’s like to work and live like a caregiver.
“Housing, food, and bills are on the rise and caregivers are struggling to keep up,” said April Verrett, Executive Vice President of SEIU 2015. “LA County is going to be in a terrible care crisis if they don’t address the growing care demands of seniors and people with disabilities. The first step is to invest in the workforce so they can do their work without having to worry about being unable to pay rent or feed their families. If they don’t act now, caregivers are going to opt for a better paying job elsewhere, thus leaving thousands without the care they need to survive.”
LA County caregivers with the IHSS Program currently make $11.18 an hour and are hoping to reach a deal with county officials that will afford them livable wages and benefits.
In addition to cost-of-living boards, caregivers left worn out shoes at each Supervisors’ district office to symbolize how they give 110% when they provide care to seniors and people with disabilities.