Assemblymembers Carmen De La Rosa and Karines Reyes today hosted in the Bronx a roundtable with State Senator Jose Serrano, Assemblymembers Kenny Burgos, Nathalia Fernandez and Al Taylor, incoming Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia and incoming New York City Council member Kristin Richardson Jordan, along with staff from State Senator Liz Kreuger’s office and Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell’s office, and home care workers, seniors and people with disabilities to discuss how to end New York’s worst-in-the-nation home care shortage. Speakers highlighted the growing home care worker shortage as New York’s population ages and older adults and disabled people seek non-nursing home options, and call for passage of the Fair Pay for Home Care Act to end the shortage by paying home care workers a living wage.
“New York currently faces the worst home care shortage in the entire nation. Our neighbors are aging rapidly and we don’t have enough home care workers to care for the state’s older adults and disabled people,” said Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa. “Our seniors deserve dignity, our health care workers deserve a living wage and fair working conditions, and our families deserve support and peace of mind. Now is the moment for New York State to bring justice to our seniors and our health care workers and pass the Fair Pay for Home Care Act.”
“As a health care worker and as a caregiver to a relative receiving home health services, I completely understand the need for fair pay standards for home health aides,” said Assemblymember Karines Reyes. “These largely-immigrant, women of color work long hours, providing quality care for seniors and the disabled, with inadequate pay to support their families. We need to pass A6329 to ensure that all home health aides are given the wages that they need and deserve to survive.”
“New York’s population is aging rapidly and we are currently facing the worst home care shortage in the entire nation,” said Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez. “As we continue to face this crisis we need to focus on real solutions to help our most vulnerable. We need to pass the Fair Pay for Home Care Act to raise wages for our home care workers.”
“When we elevate home care workers we elevate the entire community here in the Bronx,” said Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia. “The Bronx is suffering the most — we have the highest poverty rate, and as a union leader for 23 years, I have fought for good jobs for our people. I will be cosponsoring this bill because it is very important to me. My grandmother is 105 years old, and I know how important it is for us to take care of our grandmothers and mothers at home, and how that affects their health and gives them the support they need. This will be a priority that I will be fighting for with my colleagues in 2022.”
Attendees also included the New York Caring Majority, Cooperative Home Care Associates, Bronx Independent Living Services, Harlem Independent Living Center, Highbridge Community Development Corporation, LiveOn New York, Search & Care, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, and the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State.
Between 2021-2040, the state is projected to grow by 3% — but the 65+ population will grow by 25%, while the 85+ population will grow by 75%. As the population ages, demand for home care is increasing as well; New York will have more than 600,000 home care job openings by 2026. From 2016-2026, the growing demand for home care workers will add more jobs than any other single occupation in the United States.
Over 40% of New York’s homecare workers live in or near poverty due to chronically low wages — an average of $12.50 an hour in most regions. As a result, 25% of New York home care patients reported they are unable to find home care workers, nearly 20% of state home care positions are currently unfilled due to staff shortages, and 42% of New York’s home care agencies reported high turnover.
Research has found that recovering Covid patients have fared far better in home care than nursing homes. Additionally, the recent loss of over 15,000 nursing home residents to Covid has caused many families to opt for home care over nursing homes for their loved one.
A report released by CUNY in April 2021 revealed that the Fair Pay for Home Care Act would end New York’s home care shortage and bring 200,000 new home care workers into the field over the next decade. Additionally, the Act would lift over 200,000 home care workers out of poverty wages, and generate $5.4 billion for the state through new income, sales tax revenue, and reductions in Medicaid and social services. As New York’s care sector is 91% women and 77% people of color, the Act will overwhelmingly create jobs for an historically underpaid workforce.
About the New York Caring Majority
The New York Caring Majority is a coalition of organizations including Hand in Hand, Cooperative Homecare Associates, Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NY State, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and others who advocate for seniors, people with disabilities, family caregivers, and domestic and homecare workers in the state of New York.