IHSS workers rally for rights

Home care advocates launched a statewide “Care-A-Van” to protest potential cuts in the states In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. Dozens of buses convoyed from San Diego to Chico and converged on the capital in protest of Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts.

Over 330,000 Californians depend upon the IHSS program to live independently in their homes. Many of them risk losing home care services because of the cuts the governor proposes, which include reducing provider pay to the $6.75 hourly minimum wage and eliminating health benefits.

On June 9, before boarding buses to the capital, the north-state caravan held a kick off rally on the steps of Chico City Hall. Emotional homecare providers and individuals who need assistance in day-to-day living shared positive homecare stories.

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts in home care will force a lot people into retirement hospitals or facilities for patients with severe disabilities, Executive Director of Independent Living Services of Northern California, Evan LeVang said.

“The In-Home Supportive Service program is extremely important because it allows the elderly and people with disabilities to live at home with the assistance of non-licensed nurses,” LeVang said. “The help provides essential living assistance, which is in threat of being taken away.”

Down the road, it will cost four to five times more to institutionalize people compared to in-home care LeVang said.