Caring Force rallies for funding at State House!
More than 600 human service workers, clients/consumers and supporters from The Caring Force rallied at the State House and visited lawmakers to urge the Legislature to fairly fund human service programs and wages on Tuesday, April 8. The crowd eventually grew so large that State House security closed off entrance to the rally with many advocates still waiting to get inside.
Workers, clients, board members, and human services executives shared their personal stories and highlighted the impact that state budget decisions have on the lives of tens of thousands of low-paid workers and the one-in-10 vulnerable Massachusetts residents they serve.
The Caring Force asked legislators to support nearly $200 million in new funding to improve rates that haven't been increased for more than two decades and ensure the state's compliance with the Commonwealth's landmark rate reform law, Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2008. The group also asked for a $16.6 million Salary Reserve for workers not yet covered by new rates, as well as increases for programs not covered by Chapter 257 or the Salary Reserve, such as early education and some elder services.
The Caring Force also heard from its legislative champions, including Senator Karen Spilka, who told attendees that she knew "what an incredibly important role you all play!" Additionally, Rep. Patricia Haddad received the Caring Bear award as the legislator of the year, and State Reps. Gloria Fox and Jeffrey Roy also spoke.
A certificate of appreciation was also awarded to Ava Lins from Citizens for Adequate Housing in Peabody. When she was fired from her job at a 7-Eleven for giving an individual who was homeless a cup of coffee on a cold night, CAH Executive Director Corey Jackson hired her to work with clients at Citizens for Adequate Housing in Peabody.