We want to urge you to take action to protect the Illinois Home Services Program (HSP) this week. Next week, the Illinois General Assembly will return to Springfield for the second week of veto session, and the Illinois House will consider overriding the veto of SB 2931, which would raise wages of personal attendants to $15 an hour, and possibly consider doing a regular vote on SB 261, which would protect HSP customers and personal attendants from the negative consequences of overtime hour caps. As with Illinois group homes, HSP is also an opportunity for the State to do good for people with disabilities (and save money compared to nursing home placement), but that investment needs to be concrete and in line with the specific needs of individual people with disabilities.
Please take action on SB 2931, the $15 an hour wage bill for HSP personal attendants, at this link .
Please take action on SB 261, the HSP overtime bill, at this link .
We at Access Living would urge that Illinois legislators carefully consider the role of HSP personal attendants who serve people with disabilities. Each worker develops a unique relationship of trust with the person with a disability, who trains them on what they need and allows them to perform very intimate care such as bathing and toileting. This is not a system that can tolerate swapping out anonymous workers who can spin on a dime to serve any person with a disability. Rather, it is a system that relies on accumulated skill and trust between specific people. HSP personal attendants are valued parts of a person with a disability's support system, and should be treated as such.
This note was drafted by Amber Smock, Director of Advocacy for Access Living.