On March 3, 2018, the workers of Capital Homecare Cooperative received their Agency license from the State of Washington. In Washington, home care (not to be confused with home healthcare) is heavily regulated. Just to get licensed (which also means insurance coverage) is over $5,000. Caregivers also need a license which can cost hundreds of dollars in training and testing fees (not to mention the license itself). This makes the path towards creating an agency a bit daunting for home care workers who often make near minimum wage.
However, these folks did it!
The paths for CHC was a little bit longer since it began as a “top-down” development model. When I arrived in Olympia in 2014, there was a planning group talking about create a home care co-op, but it didn’t include any caregivers. Part of my job became finding those caregivers and helping them turn the project into a grass roots effort. A lot a great came got involved and did the heavy lifting. Nevertheless, this process of ebbing and flowing with people power took a few cycles until the fall of 2017.
We made a short video for them to tel their story themselves:
Home care co-ops are on the rise across the country thanks to organizations such as Cooperative Development Fund and the commitment of regional co-op development groups (such as the one I am associated with), and the desire of people who are in this industry to create a quality of worklife. The folks who choose home care have incredible empathy skills and they deserve to have a workplace that supports and values their humanity.
Capital Homecare continues, as a relatively new organization, to build its infrastructure, but they are making great strides and I consider it an honor to get to work with them on their journey.