Learn more about our Homes with Heart capital campaign at HCSheart.org


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In the 2023 state budget, Governor Kathy Hochul astutely recognized the growing challenges facing our industry with staffing and wage inequality. A 5.4% COLA was applied to human services workers, making it possible for more frontline professionals to receive wages that allowed for improved self-sufficiency.

The health and safety of the people who choose our services is compromised when there is a lack of financial investment in wages for our staff members. The 2024 budget was a chance to strike while the iron is hot; to make even larger strides towards providing for our workforce. While the 4% COLA in the budget is higher than the 2.5% that was initially proposed, it is still far off from the 8.5% COLA that workers in the care industry need. Quite frankly, this number doesn’t even come close to keeping up with what frontline workers need to keep up with inflation.

We invite you to contact your local senator or assemblyman, and advocate for our industry. Express your dissatisfaction with the 2024 COLA, and your support for a bill that supports a wage enhancement.

There’s been some activity in the State Assembly for implementing a wage enhancement for direct support professionals. A proposed bill, A.5268, would establish a $4,000 wage enhancement for eligible direct support professionals in the intellectual and developmental disabilities sector.

At the federal level, we are beginning to see positive signs for the industry. In April 2023, Joe Biden signed what the White House is describing as “the most comprehensive set of executive actions any president has ever taken to improve care for hard-working families while supporting care workers and family caregivers.” The order addresses a broad range of different services, from child care to long-term care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

You can read the full executive order here.


Establishment of Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE): DSWE would ensure care providers receive annual funding of $4,000 per direct support staff member,
enhancing their hourly rate of pay.


Investment in Direct Support Professional Sustainability: Continuous investment in the education of and upward mobility for frontline care professionals will ensure career growth and long-term careers for frontline professionals.

Get involved and take action

Now is the time to reach out to your elected officials, especially majority members, and demand COLA funding increase according to inflation. Please note in your email if you are one of their constituents. Use the buttons below to find your representative and email them using the form letter copy provided.

Other advocacy opportunities

We ask that you would advocate at the federal level for direct support staff to have their own Department of Labor occupational code. They currently do not, and this makes it difficult for us to gather the data necessary to make informed decisions about the future of our valued staff members and their wages, when they are included with home health aides, personal care aids and other types of human services workers.

For more information check out these resources:



Help Share the Importance of the Services Your Loved One May Receive and the Part That Direct Support Roles Play In Those Services


In addition, Heritage Christian Services supports initiatives that:

  • Enhance the opportunity for diverse, inclusive, equitable community experiences rich with meaningful relationships
  • Ensure introduction and access to high-quality care professionals
  • Increase the number of people who have meaningful employment in our community
  • Increase access to accessible, affordable, quality housing
  • Improve the availability and quality of transportation services

Together, we will ensure a community that respects the work of our agency and care professionals. With that respect, we will elevate our advocacy to ensure our legislators and funders make the necessary adjustments to support quality services and the funding of a sustainable wage for care professionals.

Your Advocacy Matters

Care professionals are the familiar faces working in group residences, hospitals, nursing homes and in-home care who we trust to support our loved ones when we cannot be there. Even with medical professionals assessing and designing care plans, without our frontline support professionals, these plans simply remain on paper. Plans of care are lived out by the hands and hearts that support the person in each step of their daily routine.

Care professionals perform some of the most important work in our communities. They are also parents, students, and people who want to make a difference in the lives of those they support. Our society depends on people working in these roles to support our community members, often at times of greatest need; as such, human services continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. People in care roles are required to be skilled professionals with specific training and education, and yet many of them cannot financially take care of their own families because of the low wages associated with their jobs. It is essential that care professionals be able to earn a livable, sustainable wage. They deserve it.  We all need to work together to increase the respect and wages of care professionals.

As we continue to advocate for care professionals like direct support staff, we would like to share your stories that illustrate the importance of this work. We will use these stories to demonstrate the need for change.  If you have a personal example that you can share, please complete the form below.

Advocacy Stories