October 26, 2023
Home care aides and workers in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will receive much-needed pandemic relief funds as part of a $2 million commitment from Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott. Drawing on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the grant to 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds will provide $500 payments to eligible workers in recognition of the long hours they put in during the most dangerous periods of the pandemic.
Maryland’s direct care workers, most of whom are Black women, are frequently underpaid and saw little, if any, pay increase during the pandemic. While the ARPA gave Maryland millions of dollars intended for home care aides, former Governor Larry Hogan sent that money to home care agencies. Some agencies passed along some money to workers, but many did not, worsening Maryland’s already dire shortage of home care aides.
Mayor Scott’s decision to use a portion of the City’s ARPA funds to compensate direct care workers for their essential work helps correct the injustice they have experienced. You can learn more in this press release, which cites a report on Baltimore’s direct care workforce co-authored by PJC attorney David Rodwin. We are proud to have worked with 1199SEIU on the proposal for these funds. And we thank Mayor Scott for standing up for Baltimore’s direct care workers, who are so often ignored. This is one step in the longer fight to improve the wages and working conditions of direct care jobs, and we will continue to advocate for systemic solutions.