Letter to the Editor – Submitted to the Austin American-Statesman
This week, September 9-15, 2019, is Direct Support Professional Recognition Week in Texas. In signing the proclamation, Governor Abbott acknowledged that these professional caregivers, who help Texans with disabilities live more independently, are often under-recognized for their work. He’s right, and by supporting efforts to raise the hourly base wage for care attendants, the Governor can demonstrate his commitment to this important workforce. Despite being one of the fastest-growing professions, nationally 1 in 4 home care aids lives below the federal poverty level and more than 50% rely on public benefits. Low wages and minimal benefits leads to high worker turnover, poor quality of care, and unnecessary costs to the state including expensive hospitalization or institutionalization. Governor Abbott should, in his words, recognize the positive impact of these dedicated and trusted caregivers and the significant roles they play in our communities by giving them a fair wage.