Building A Movement for Universal In-Home Care in Maine

March 6, 2019

Maine People’s Alliance is a grassroots community action organization dedicated to social, racial and environmental justice. It focuses on leadership development to increase the number of community leaders prepared to work for positive social change. Thanks in part to support from Voqal, Maine People’s Alliance laid the groundwork to pass a groundbreaking new policy to ensure that Maine seniors and people with disabilities can universally access the in-home care they need to live and age with dignity.

Last year, Maine People’s Alliance conducted an extensive ballot campaign aimed at passing universal in-home care for those who need it most. While the effort ultimately failed (due partially to confusing ballot language), the organizing and advocacy in support of the measure created the infrastructure needed to pass legislation in the coming year. In particular, Maine People’s Alliance built a base of low-income and working-class voters that will help put pressure on the elected officials to pass such an important measure.

A perfect example of the power of this support came during outreach at a local Veterans Affairs clinic when a Maine People’s Alliance organizer met Pam, a disabled Gulf War veteran. Pam’s 89-year-old mother needed home care a few years ago. This expense depleted both of their savings in one month. Now Pam’s mom lives with her and Pam is facing unforeseen medical costs of her own.

Pam’s story resonated with many in the campaign. She eventually submitted a letter to the editor and spoke at a press conference that featured veterans in support of the ballot measure. Throughout the course of the campaign, Pam became a powerful spokesperson for all those suffering from the high cost of in-home care. The Maine People’s Alliance campaign placed a spotlight on an issue that faces so many of Maine’s most vulnerable populations. This focus on people like Pam who it has brought to the forefront of public discourse will no doubt help in the campaign to find a legislative solution for the detrimental costs of in-home care.

A socially equitable world is not possible while so many are unable to get the care they need. The work by Maine People’s Alliance recognizes this reality and is an important part of creating the world envisioned by Voqal. We are proud to have supported this effort and look forward to Maine People’s Alliance continued dedication to empowering Maine residents to advocate for policies, like universal in-home care, that most affect their lives.