Advocates push for passage of Fair Pay for Home Care Act

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Local state assembly members and health care advocates say they are fighting to end a statewide home care shortage.

They say the Fair Pay for Home Care Act would raise wages for home care workers, but it must be put into the state budget to pass.

Right now, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget doesn’t include it.

Local representatives, healthcare workers union 1199SEIU and a group of home care advocates called for the passage of the bill Wednesday at the home of 36-year-old Flip Rivera, who cannot move into it from his nursing home because he can not find home care workers due to the shortage.

"The poverty wages for home care workers has made it difficult for me to find home care workers willing to do this important work,” Rivera said.

Rivera has Cerebral Palsy and uses technology to communicate. In order for him to live in the home he bought, he would need consistent aides to help him. Assemblywoman Sarah Clark (D, 136), said this act needs to pass.

"Investing in the care economy, is an economic engine, if we pull people out of poverty wages we create economic ripples beyond just that,” Clark said.

Wilfredo Rodriguez, a home care aide, said taking care of others is his passion, but he makes under $15. He says he can barely take care of himself.

"I’m currently functionally homeless and rely on my friends for a place to stay, when it comes to home care, and not having enough money for my own health care, it gets pretty sticky,” Rodriguez said.

Rivera said if this law is passed, it would give him the independence, he thought would never be possible.

"Fair pay for home care, would change my life by allowing me to stay in my own house without worrying about my aids leaving and getting new jobs with better pay,” Rivera said.

Rivera said he has hopes to move into his home soon. Legislative leaders are expected to continue negotiations with Hochul.