A little under a thousand people gathered at the Capitol Thursday to deliver 75,000 petitions and ask legislators to reject cuts to the in-home care system.
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget cuts include a 7-percent cut to caregiver hours and the elimination of domestic services in shared households, adding up to a $224.5 million reduction.
Doug Moore, executive director of the UDW Homecare Providers Union, said he came to the rally because he was "preparing for attack on the budget proposal by the governor."
He said IHSS saves the state money. Putting someone in an institution can cost around $5,000 a month, he said, while caring for them at home costs $800 a month.
"I'm sick and tired of having to be here every year, but I'm not too sick and tired to not fight back," Moore said.
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), provides care to low-income individuals who are elderly, blind, or otherwise disabled. The Legislature must pass the budget by June 15.
Rallygoers cheered "Home care saves money, home care saves lives," "Let's get healthy at home" and "They say cut back, we say fight back."
Gail Ennis, president of the California United Homecare Workers, said she was there because the IHSS was "once again targeted."
"This year what we are saying is no to cuts," Ennis told the crowd. "We're here because we want to make sure that lawmakers get the message."
Tammy Stiles' husband was diagnosed with ALS 14 years ago. She said she chose to stay home and care for her husband and has become reliant on IHSS for money, but at times it can be "hard to make ends meet."
"I'm here to tell them no more cuts," Stiles said. "Stop taking from our tables, stop taking from our families."
Her husband, Robert Stiles, said that Tammy staying home allows him to receive care "in a loving way and with dignity."
The state pays a portion of the salaries of workers such as Tammy Stiles, and the county pays the rest. The program has become unionized and has drawn criticism for its costs.
There have also been questions of fraud because some people have claimed they are talking care of elderly relatives who are able to take care of themselves. Moore said fraud in the program is probably as low as 3 percent.
Petitions at the rally were in lettered boxes that when placed next to each other said "Home Care Saves Lives & Saves Money." After the rally, the petitions were put into wheelchairs and delivered to the governor's office.