Celebrating National Family Caregivers Month with a Win in Ohio

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Last night, voters in Hamilton County, Ohio, overwhelmingly approved Issue 5 – the senior services levy – by 72 percent. This levy funds the Elderly Services Program, which provides home care, Meals on Wheels and other vital services that allow seniors to age in the way that 90% of them want to – at home, instead of in nursing homes. At a time of so much uncertainty, we want to take a moment to celebrate this victory for care!

Last year, our partners at the AMOS Project won a huge victory for families by passing Issue 44 to fund expanded preschool for children in Cincinnati. This year, they followed up that victory by helping to secure last night’s win for seniors and caregiving families.

This win had two steps: first, a fight to get an increase in the levy on the ballot, and second, to get it approved by the voters. Convincing the County Commissioners to include this levy on the ballot was an intense campaign, and the stakes were high: this $19 million in funding for elder care services only comes up once every five years. Therefore, it was especially important to ensure the Commission approved the increase our partners recommended instead of the flat funding recommended by the levy review committee.

Initially, it seemed the Commission was planning to keep the levy flat until the AMOS Project started doing what it does best – organize! They:

  • held multiple phone banks that generated over 100 calls to the Commissioners;
  • circulated and delivered a petition with over 400 signatures;
  • packed the public hearing and the vote with constituents; and
  • published an op-ed by AMOS’ Executive Director, Troy Jackson, in the leading Cincinnati paper, just a day prior to the hearing.

After pulling out all the stops, our proposed increase was approved by the Commission and sent to the voters. Yesterday it was overwhelmingly approved by 72 percent!

An end to this funding – even just keeping the amount unchanged – would have ended vital elder care services program that keeps seniors at home. This win is a testament to what we can accomplish with good organizing, a commitment to building strong families and communities, and a willingness to engage voters on care. Step by step we are creating a society that helps us be there for our families, no matter what.

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