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

Advocacy

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THE FIGHT FOR A FAIR BUDGET

The health and safety of the people who choose our services are compromised when there is a lack of financial investment in wages for our staff members. It is the first step in an adverse chain reaction, as it forces people to consider other career choices. This makes it harder for provider agencies to ensure there is adequate staffing. The 2023-2024 New York State budget was a chance to make larger strides toward providing for our workforce, but it came up short.

The 2024-2025 state budget does not bode well either. The proposed budget only includes a 1.5% cost of living adjustment (COLA), with no direct support wage enhancement (DSWE) included. We cannot afford to sit idly by as yet another state budget comes up short of our industry’s needs.

It’s important to note that prior to Govenor Hochul’s leadership, her predesecor deferred nearly all cost of living increases for an entire decade. Instead of 19.3% that should have come to community organizations, we received increases of just 1.2% over that decade. That is billions of dollars that should have gone into the system, but didn’t. Combine that with inflation, and you can understand the severe difficulties service organizations face.

We invite you to contact your local senator or assemblyperson and advocate for our industry. There’s still time for you to speak up before the 2024-2025 state budget is approved: it only takes a few minutes to call the governor’s office (518-474-8390) and advocate for a direct support wage enhancement and cost of living adjustment, to ask people you know to call her office as well, and to advocate and share on social media.

If email or electronic correspondence is better for you, visit the New York Alliance For Inclusion And Innovation’s Government Action Center by clicking HERE. One click will make a big difference.

Changing the Narrative

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. 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.

Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of our caring professionals have demonstrated time and time again how important they are to the fabric of society. You can help us demonstrate their importance by sharing personal stories of how a caring professional supported you or a loved one to your local elected official. Who else could take care of us through a complicated medical challenge, or support us through end-of-life?

“There are only four kinds of people in the world.Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” – Rosalyn Carter

EQUAL

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.

INVEST

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 a 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 for your advocacy 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 Assistants, and other types of human services workers.

For more information check out these resources:

https://nadsp.org/establish-a-direct-support-professional-standard-occupational-classification/

https://www.ancor.org/capitol-correspondence/legislation-designating-dsps-officially-recognized-profession-re-introduced-ask-your/

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 fund a sustainable wage for care professionals.

Your Advocacy Matters

Care professionals perform some of the most essential work in our communities. They are also parents, students and people who want to make a difference in the lives of the people 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. Yet, many of them cannot financially care for their own families because of the low wages associated with their jobs. Care professionals must be able to earn a livable, more just 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