On Friday, after “walking a day” in the shoes of home care providers who aide Michael Deiure, State Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe became the first Republican to sign our “pledge to protect” vital services like home healthcare and child care — scroll below to see our press release about the event.
Some photos from the day:
Press Release: July 17th, 2015
CONTACT: Scott Vogel, firstname.lastname@example.org
As Governor Rauner’s Government Shutdown Continues, Republican State Rep. Michael McAuliffe Signs Pledge to Protect Homecare and Child Care During a “Walk-A-Day” Event With Constituent Who Suffers From Cerebral Palsy and Confined to Wheelchair
Working Families Call Upon Republican State Lawmakers to Speak Out to Protect Vital Services For Their Constituents and End Illinois’ Budget Crisis
(Chicago) –In the midst of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s state government shutdown and budget crisis, Republican State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-20th district) attended a “walk-a-day” event to care for a 39-year-old constituent, Michael Deiure, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.
The “walk-a-day” allowed Rep. McAuliffe to get firsthand experience from Michael’s parents, Francesco and Rosa, as well as his brother Vito, who serve as Michael’s caregivers, and to learn about Illinois’ Home Service Program (HSP). Home care allows adults with disabilities and seniors to receive assistance to live independently instead of being forced into a nursing home or institution, thereby saving the state tens of millions of dollars every year.
After finishing their pasta lunch – Francesco and Rosa are Italian immigrants who speak little English – Michael Deiure turned and asked State Rep. McAuliffe to sign a pledge card that he would protect vital services such as home care and child care assistance for working families which McAuliffe proudly agreed to. Rep. McAuliffe is the first Republican state lawmaker since Gov. Rauners’ shutdown to step forward and publicly support programs which are being slashed both from budget cuts and from policy changes from the Rauner administration.
“People like Michael shouldn’t have to be the ones to suffer,” said Rep. McAuliffe.
Michael’s previous home care worker, a family friend, passed away suddenly in 2012. Ever since, Michael’s parents care for Michael’s daily needs, helping him to dress, bathe, eat, and transport him for errands or doctor’s appointments.
What worries Michael is that his parents, Francesco and Rosa, are getting older and have some of their own health conditions. Michael also had the number of hours cut from his care from 166 hours every two weeks to now 132.25, further complicating the demands on his parents.
During his stay with the Deiure family Rep. McAuliffe helped Michael get dressed, shave his face, boil pasta for his Mom Rosa, and listened to the family talk about why home care assistance is absolutely essential to Michael’s quality of life.
“I absolutely need my home care just to be able to get out of bed and to eat,” said Michael Deiure. “Ever day tasks are a struggle for me. I’m happy I was able to share my concerns with Rep. McAuliffe.”
Because of Gov. Rauner’s state government shutdown, low-wage home care workers like Francesco and Rosa Deiure, are being forced to stretch what could be their last paycheck for some time as uncertainty grows over the state’s budget crisis and the impact on vital services for families, seniors, and adults with disabilities.
It’s estimated that Governor Rauner’s changes to the Home Services Program and the Community Care Program will result in 50,000 seniors and people with disabilities losing access to home care. Without these vital home care services, many will be forced into costly institutional care.
Home care workers continue to call on state lawmakers and Governor Rauner to end the government shutdown immediately and actually pass a state budget.
“It is absolutely essential that our state lawmakers protect programs that serve families instead of slashing home care assistance, Medicaid and other vital services. That should be their number one priority,” said Michael Deiure.