The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

CC: Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins & Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

Dear Governor Kathy Hochul:

As faith leaders from across New York State, we urge you to end the home care crisis that is plaguing our communities. We are responsible for caring and supporting our community and congregants — and this includes their care outside our places of worship.

Our faith traditions teach that caring for others with love and kindness is a sacred way to serve. Those who do that holy work also deserve love and kindness, in the form of fair pay and working conditions that allow them to care for others while also caring for their own families.

Every day, we speak with members of our parishes, temples, mosques and synagogues who struggle to find home care. We also have home care workers among our congregants. We hear from aging adults who are scared they will be forced into nursing homes because they cannot find home care workers. We hear from disabled people who are often unable to get out of bed or feed themselves because there are no home care workers to care for them. And we hear from family members and loved ones who fear for their grandparents, parents, and children because there are no home care workers to hire. Home care workers make it possible for our congregants and community members to join us in worship.

It’s clear to us from our daily conversations that home care is nearly impossible to find — and the numbers reflect our experiences. A recent report found New York faces the worst home care shortage of all fifty states: 25% of home care clients are unable to find home care workers, and nearly 20% of home care positions are currently unfilled.

There is no question that home care workers are leaving the sector to find work elsewhere because the pay is far too low. Many of our congregations include home care workers, and those who have left the work as well — and we hear the same refrain: they love their jobs but cannot survive on the poverty wages. Home care workers perform valiant, tireless work — lifting aging adults in and out of bed, helping feed, clothe, and bathe them. Yet the state insists this work is worth just $13.20 an hour in most regions of New York. Over 40% of homecare workers live in or near poverty due to chronically low wages, and 57% rely on public assistance. With so many home care workers living below the poverty line, we understand their desire to find employment elsewhere. We need you to act now, so these workers stop leaving.

As faith leaders, we urge you to show moral leadership and end the home care crisis. Including Fair Pay for Home Care (A6329A/S5374A) in the New York State budget is the logical solution — the Act would wipe out the home care shortage within five years, create 200,000 new jobs, and pay for itself by moving workers off of state programs like food assistance and other social services. Elected officials across the state, and across party lines, support Fair Pay for Home Care — because they know this crisis is threatening all New Yorkers.

During Covid-19, New Yorkers need home care now more than ever. And in the years to come, this demand will only grow as our population ages. Between 2021-2040, New York State is projected to grow by 3% —but the 65-and-over population will grow by 25%, while the number of adults over age 85 will grow by 75%.

As faith leaders, we have been heartened to hear you voice support for women, immigrants, people of color, and communities that have been ignored for far too long. We urge you to match these powerful words with action and fund Fair Pay for Home Care now.

Thank you,

Affiliation for Identification Purposes Only

Bishop Dr. Timothy Birkett, Church Alive Community Church, Bronx

Bishop Dr. Raymond Rivera, Latino Pastoral Action Center & Sanctuary Church, Bronx

Cantor Chanin Becker, Tarrytown

Cantor Lisa Segal, Kolot Chayeinu, Brooklyn

Deacon Duncan Harris, St. Joseph's Church, Webster

Dr. Rev. Charles Galbreath

Elder Ralph Carter, Third Presbyterian Church Rochester, Pittsford

Elder Lisa Wright, Bronx

Elder Reverend T. Gerard Williams, Unity Fellowship, Buffalo

Father Michael Bausch,Pittsford

Father Pierre-Andre Duvert, St Luke's, Bronx

Father Bartholomew Mrosso, St. Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church, St. Albans

Minister Kim Murray-Cruse, Grace Baptist Church, Mount Vernon

Minister Chaplain Damarys Butler, Church Of The Living God, Brooklyn

Pastor William Alburquerque , Iglesia EvangÈlica Cristo Salva, Brooklyn

Pastor Stevens Donald, Rochester

Pastor Phillip Falayi, Hosanna City of Refuge, Rosedale

Pastor Denise Grant, Little Flock House Of Prayer Inc., Brooklyn

Pastor Laundale Munroe, Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church, Little Neck

Pastor George Nicholas, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church, Buffalo

Pastor David Rourk, New Vision Ministries, Rochester

Pastor Everette Samuel Maranatha, Brooklyn

Pastor Alicia Wood, University United Methodist Church, Syracuse

President Sheila Davis, Church Women United Inc., Brooklyn

Rabbi Nicole Auerbach, Central Synagogue, New York

Rabbi Guy Austrian, Fort Tryon Jewish Center, New York

Rabbi Rena Blumenthal, New Paltz

Rabbi Matt Cuter, Congregation Gates Of Heaven, Schenectady

Rabbi Barat Ellman, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Brooklyn

Rabbi Susan Falk, The Shul of New York, Brooklyn

Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition, New York

Rabbi Jason Gitlin, Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, Malkhut, Jackson Heights

Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell, Temple Concord, Binghamton

Rabbi Hilly Haber, Central Synagogue, New York

Rabbi Lauren Herrmann, New York

Rabbi Michael Howald, Temple Israel Reform Congregation , Staten Island

Rabbi Margo Hughes-Robinson, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Brooklyn

Rabbi Mark Hurvitz, New York

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, New York

Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, Congregation Shir Shalom, Amherst

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Brooklyn

Rabbi Daniel Reiser Westchester, Reform Temple, Scarsdale

Rabbi Max Reynolds, Brooklyn

Rabbi Mira Rivera Romemu, New York

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn, Congregation Tehillah, Bronx

Rabbi Peter Stein, Temple Brith Kodesh, Rochester

Rabbi Joshua Strom, Congregation B'nai Yisrael, Armonk

Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Brooklyn

Rabbi Pamela Wax, North Adams

Rabbi Jay Weinstein, Congregation Simchat HaLev, Huntington

Rabbi Shelley Kovar Becker, New York

Rev. Cecil Moonsam, 69th Precinct Clergy Council, Brooklyn

Rev. Al Cockfield

Rev. Drew Ludwig, Presbytery of Western New York, Buffalo

Rev. Earl Arnold, First Presbyterian Union Church of Owego, Owego

Rev. Laura Bachmann, Gates Presbyterian Church, Rochester

Rev. Kirk Baker, Presbyterian Church USA, Pittsford

Rev. Duvil Beaujour, Church of God, Inc., Brooklyn

Rev. Twyla Boyer, Penfield Presbyterian Church, Rochester

Rev. Micah Bucey, Judson Memorial Church, New York

Rev. Leslie Burkardt, St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, Monroe

Rev. Terry Calhoun, Lemuel Haynes Congregational Church, Jamaica

Rev. Lynn Casteel Harper, The Riverside Church in the City of New York

Rev. Peter Cook, New York State Council of Churches, Albany

Rev. Benjamin Cox, Elim Christian Fellowship Church, Rochester

Rev. Emily DeTar Birt, Unitarian Church of Staten Island

Rev. Antoinnette Donegan, First Central Baptist Church, Staten Island

Rev. Anne Dunlap, UCC, Kenmore

Rev. James Evinger Presbytery of Genesee Valley, Rochester

Rev. Sandra Felder, Pittsford

Rev. Roderic Frohman, Presbyterian, Rochester

Rev. David Gaewski, New York Conference UCC, Syracuse

Rev. Carolyn Grohman, Retired pastor, Presbyterian Church (USA), Rochester

Rev. Hope Douglas Harle-Mould, Grove Street Christian Church (DOC), Kenmore

Rev. Carmen Hernandez, 1471-73 Watson Ave Resident Council Inc., Bronx

Rev. Eric Jackson, ACTS Syracuse

Rev. Karen Jackson, Reformed Church of Prince Bay, Staten Island

Rev. Oppong Kyekyeku, Christianity, New York

Rev. Matt Lincoln, Trinity Episcopal Church, Buffalo

Rev. Jeremy Lopez, Salem United Church of Christ, Tonawanda

Rev. Patricia Malcom, Brooklyn

Rev. Elizabeth Maxwell, Church of the Ascension, New York

Rev. E. West McNeill, Journey United Church of Christ, Schenectady

Rev. Edward L. Palumbos, St Mary's Church, Rochester

Rev. Joe Paparone, Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS, Albany

Rev. Kwame Pitts, Community of Good Neighbors, Buffalo

Rev. Tedd Pullano, Third Presbyterian Church, Penfield

Rev. Melanie Rochford, New Life Cathedral, Brooklyn

Rev. Nancy Rosas, Pilgrim St. Luke's UCC, Buffalo

Rev. James Simmons, Baber African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rochester

Rev. F. Romall Smalls, Grace Baptist Church, Mount Vernon

Rev. Phil Tom, The Riverside Church in New York City

Rev. Benjamin Udofia, Wings of Redemption Ministry, Bronx

Rev. Lori Vail, Mary Magdalene Church, East Rochester

Rev. Valerie W. Wilson, Believers Tabernacle Of Faith Church, Inc., Freeport

Rev. Robert Werth, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish, Rochester

Rev. Richard Witt, Rural & Migrant Ministry Inc., Cornwall On Hudson

Rev. Christopher Wylie, Rolling Nation Network, Lewiston

Rev. Frank Kotowski, Summerland Church of Light, Bay Shore

Rev. Dr . Rickey Harvey, Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Rochester

Rev. Dr . Peter W. Peters, St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene Episcopal Church, Rochester

Rev. Dr. Demetrius Carolina, Staten Island

Rev. Dr. Yoreel Fraser Trumpet, Brooklyn

Rev. Dr. Adolphus Lacey, Bethany Baptist Church, Montrose

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Sauve, First Presbyterian East Avon

Rev. Dr. C. Denise Yarbrough, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester

Sister Faith Colligan, Daughters of Charity Province of St. Louise, Albany

Sister Anne Urquhart, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish, Rochester

Venerable Trueman Taylor, Rochester Zen Center, Rochester

Church Administrator Deborah Burton, Brooklyn Tabernacle Deliverance Center

Dr. Adam Fisher, Temple Isaiah, Stony Brook Port Jefferson Station

Dr. John Heister, UCC, Mendon

Dr. Deni Mack, RocACTS Religious Leaders Caucus Chair, Rochester

Dr. W. Franklyn, Richardson, Conference of National Black Churches, Mount Vernon

Dr. Mark Rosing, Temple Israel New Rochelle

Mr. Keith Dennis, St. Luke, NewYork

Mr. Carlos MartÌnez MOYA, Iglesia Portadores de Gracia, Vauxhall

Ms. Katherine Adler, Central Synagogue, New York

Ms. Ramati Ahmed, African Life Center, Bronx

Ms. Beth DuBois University United Methodist Church, Syracuse

Ms. Stacey Ellis, Church Alive Community Church, Bronx

Ms. Julia Solow, Saugerties

Ms. Mary Springer, St. Francis of Assisi Manhattan, New York

Home Care Organizer Monica Landinez M., Middle Village

Yudelka Alburquerque,Iglesia EvangÈlica Cristo Salva, South Richmond Hill

Lucy Cano, Woodhaven

Anna Couch-Superville, Brooklyn Tabernacle/Co-Cathedral of S. Joseph/S. Teresa of Avila , Staten Island

Alice Forman, Mt. Sinai United Christian Church, Staten Island

Sam Greenberg, Hadar, New York

Peter Gudaitis, New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), New York

Edward-Richard Hinds , Rugby Deliverance Tabernacle, Brooklyn

Tabatha Holley, New Day Church, Bronx

Howard Horowitz, Temple Israel of New Rochelle

Sasha Kesler, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Bronx

Tracy Kessler, St. Stephen Goshen

Helen Krim, Riverdale Temple, Bronx

Nicole Laster, Health Care Workers Rising, Niagara Falls

Holly Nowak, Buffalo

Judith Pinals, Temple Israel of New Rochelle

John Pulleyn, Rochester Zen Center

Elena Safonova, Brooklyn

Myra Saul, Scarsdale

Joanna Singh, Community Dialogue NYC, Brooklyn

Lourdes Torres, Bronx

Noah Tubbs, Albany

Ilissa Warhit, Temple Israel New Rochelle

Lee Winkelman, New York Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-NY), New York