Pheffer Amato on Home Health Care Workers Aid Increase: “This Is About Us, Our Community, and Our Caregivers”

This past Sunday, April 9th, the New York State budget negotiation process was finally completed, with the Assembly, the Senate and the Governor coming to an agreement on the budget. By the end of Sunday, both houses had passed the 2017-2018 budget and the Governor had affixed his signature.

Pointing to the high density of senior citizens, the lack of a Level 1 trauma hospital and a large concentration of heart disease on the Rockaway Peninsula, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato singled out the Living Wage Initiative for Direct Care workers as especially critical to her district. “This is about us, our community and our caregivers,” Pheffer Amato said. “We rely on skilled direct care perhaps more than any other part of the City. Bringing them up to a living wage means their families will be able to get by, and they won’t have to take second jobs or leave the field. That’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

The two-year, $160 million program is slated to boost the incomes of Direct Care workers in the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Direct care workers and direct support staff will receive a 3.25% raise on January 1st, 2018. Then, direct care workers, direct support staff and clinical staff will all receive a 3.25% increase on April 1st, 2018.

“These folks have families, and they dedicate their entire lives to helping other people and their families,” Pheffer Amato said. “That we should give them a basic living wage is obvious to everyone in South Queens, and I thank Speaker Heastie, Governor Cuomo and the Leadership for bringing us back up to that standard. Our community needs Direct Care workers to be able to support our seniors and other people with disabilities and substance issues, and not have to worry that they won’t make ends meet.”