Advocates for home care workers in New York are cheering the inclusion of a pay raise provision for workers in the sector as part of the legislative budget proposals being released this week. 

The first step toward increase worker pay was included in the spending plans backed by Democrats in the state Assembly and Senate. 

“New York faces the worst home care shortage in America — and this crisis has left tens of thousands of aging adults and disabled people without care and forced them into dangerous nursing homes," said Ilana Berger, the co-director of the New York Caring Majority, a coalition formed to back the pay raise. "The facts are clear: permanent, fair wages will keep home care workers from continuing to flee the sector. If New York pays home care workers a fair wage, the state can quickly wipe out the home care shortage, keep aging adults and dsiabled people safe at home, and save the state money."

Supporters of the pay raise have argued New York is facing a home care worker shortage made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of a pay raise over the last several years. The worker shortage could be worse in the coming decades as the state's population of people age 65 and older is set to increase by 25% in the next 19 years. The number of adults over the age of 85 is projected to increase by 75%. 

The state budget is expected to pass by the end of the month.