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Sacramento, CA — United Domestic Workers of America (UDW/AFSCME 3930), a union representing over 118,000 in-home caregivers in California, released the following statement from Doug Moore, executive director of UDW, concerning Governor Newsom’s “May Revise” budget:

“Unfortunately without additional federal relief funds, the May Revise fails our state’s most vulnerable populations by cutting home care hours for more than 600,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities. It’s clear that the Governor is forced to make distressing decisions, and that we must employ creative solutions, but we must not do so at the expense of seniors, people with disabilities, and those who care for them. Now is not the time to drain resources from a critical program that is already struggling to meet the growing need for care in a state with a rapidly aging population.

“A 7% cut to the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program flies in the face of assessments by experts who have urged more home-based health care, not less. These cuts mean more than 600,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities will lose millions of hours of life-saving care in the middle of a global pandemic. With social distancing and safer-at-home orders in place, these cuts will have catastrophic consequences across the state, as seniors and people with disabilities will not receive the full amount of care determined by their social workers to be necessary for independent living.

“49% of California’s COVID-related fatalities have occurred in elder care facilities. Now is not the time cut IHSS, which allows low-income seniors and people with disabilities to receive care safely at home. IHSS caregivers are Essential Critical Infrastructure workers and they are on the frontlines of this pandemic, but most earn near minimum wage and have very few benefits. Cutting their clients’ hours will mean cutting caregivers’ pay at a time when they need economic security more than ever.

“This cut endangers the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Californians and destroys years of work to protect and shore up the IHSS program. We understand the magnitude of the budget challenge California faces; however we hope Governor Newsom reconsiders his proposal to ask the most from those already making do with the least: low-income seniors and people with disabilities.”