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Hundreds Rally for Better Care at New York Care Congress

June 13, 2012

Zaida Ramos, home care worker, Cooperative Home Care Associates

Nearly 600 home care workers, people with disabilities, elders, elected officials, organized labor representatives, and other stakeholders met in New York City on June 3 for the New York Care Congress, organized by Caring Across Generations (CAG), a national movement to improve our home care system for the people who give and receive care.

The New York Care Congress was the largest to date of the city-by-city gatherings being convened by CAG. Participants were asked to share stories and envision how to collectively ensure that millions of elders and people with disabilities receive the care they need to live with dignity -– and that workers who provide that care receive the dignity and respect they deserve.

Attendees Share Stories

National CAG co-directors Sarita Gupta and Ai-Jen Poo emphasized the possibilities of improving and creating millions of good new jobs and strengthening the supports for families who rely on home care services.

Attendees also heard directly from workers, elders, people with disabilities, and family members, who shared their compelling stories about the challenges they currently face and their hopes for change, including:

  • Zaida Ramos, a home health aide from Cooperative Home Care Associates -– a PHI affiliate — shared her story about providing comfort and care to a client during his final years.
  • Alejandra Ospina shared a touching story about how Medicaid-assisted home care in New York helps her disabled partner Nick Dupree to live a vibrant and fulfilling life as an artist, writer, and activist.
  • Minerva Peña, SEIU 1199’s lead organizer, spoke about home care workers’ victories and announced that her union stood with CAG.

PHI New York Policy Analyst Meghan Shineman participated in a panel discussion with national policy experts Jodeen Olguín-Tayler of CAG and Haeyoung Yoon of the National Employment Law Project, and addressed questions and themes from the crowd.

(L-R) Assemblyman Gottfried and State Senator Rivera

Finally, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and State Senator Gustavo Rivera voiced their mutual appreciation of home care workers and their understanding of the importance of improving both the quality of jobs and the care these jobs deliver.

The day ended with an activity called “Taking Action Together,” in which everyone was asked to provide thoughts and names of other organizations that might want to join in this cause.

To view photos and a video recording of the event, visit the website of the Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN).

CAG Work Continues

The New York Care Congress officially marked the beginning of the New York campaign for quality care and support, demanding changes in the current home care system.

To learn more and get involved in the New York Care Council, attend its next meeting on June 20 from 6pm-8pm, contact, or call 212.701.9478.

– by Carol Rodat, PHI New York Policy Director

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