The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has awarded over $100,000 in grant money to Capital Homecare Cooperative of Olympia Washington, and Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative of Bellingham Washington.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. CCHD works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families, and communities.
Home Care Cooperatives are caregiver-owned in-home care agencies. Being caregiver-owned, the model for these businesses is built around the idea that prioritizing worker equity promotes a higher quality service. In a home care cooperative, the caregivers own a share of the business, have a democratic vote in business decisions, and earn a share of the profits!
“Because of the CCHD grant award, Capital Homecare is able to survive and grow in a moment of great uncertainty. Even better, we are finally able to take our first steps towards accepting a public pay option and providing care to the seniors who are low income and need it most,” says Nora Edge, executive director of Capital Homecare Cooperative.
The focus on worker equity in-home care cooperatives is desperately needed, as the industry median wage remains eleven dollars an hour in the United States, and most caregivers do not earn more than twenty thousand dollars as a yearly salary. The industry turnover rate for home care caregivers is 87%, whereas the industry turnover rate for home care cooperatives is 38%. Worker equity works, and the CCHD knows it.
The CCHD has a rich and deep history of supporting a solidarity economy that prioritizes worker equity, supporting businesses such as Omaha Together One community in Nebraska, or the Massachusetts Senior Action Council of Massachusetts, and more. In his recent op-ed in the New York Times, Pope Francis comments on his experience with nurses and caregivers during the coronavirus pandemic,
“They are the saints next door, who have awakened something important in our hearts, making credible once more what we desire to instill by our preaching. They are the antibodies to the virus of indifference. They remind us that our lives are a gift, and we grow by giving of ourselves, not preserving ourselves but losing ourselves in service.”
The CCHD’s support of Washington Home Care Cooperatives demonstrates their focus on supporting low wage workers and supporting anti-poverty measures that help every member of their communities. Their support illustrates the CCHD’s understanding that caregivers are not only one of the most undervalued workforces but are also among the most essential in any community.
“With the help of CCHD we can grow and thrive when our caregivers and clients need us most, during a global pandemic. We could not be more grateful”. Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative’s general manager Kris Buettner is using the money to create more plentiful and attractive caregiving jobs for workers in Bellingham Washington.