Nearly one hundred Urban Pathways staff members turned out for the #JustPay Rally in New York City on March 10th to demand an end to poverty wages for human services workers. Urban Pathways’ own Chan Henry spoke about her experience as a Housing Specialist.

Henry’s remarks highlighted the need for sector employees under contract with New York City and State government to be paid fair wages for their labor. The work that Henry and all human service workers do is truly essential, especially in light of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic:

“The pandemic has added to the barriers confronted by my clients experiencing homelessness. They face restrictions making appointments, having to wait for months at a time to be seen, and challenges getting paperwork updated that is needed to apply for housing. This has resulted in my colleagues and I doing double the work to ensure our clients get what they need to gain housing.”

Henry called upon the City Council to adopt three core reforms that make up #JustPay’s mission: funding an annual COLA, setting a wage floor of no less than $21 an hour, and creating/funding a comprehensive wage and benefits schedule on all government contracts.

“Receiving more pay would help me find balance with the increases in my budget, and a consistent and guaranteed annual COLA is necessary for me to plan ahead for my financial future… I love the work that I do, and I’ve always had a passion for helping others. There is nothing more rewarding than helping those who have gotten off track get back to the life they want to lead. I know this work is as important as ever and that drives me to keep going. But with stagnant low wages and the increased cost of living, even those who love this work will not be able to afford to stay doing it.”

Join Urban Pathways, Chan Henry, and all of New York’s vital human service workers in support of #JustPay. Here are some ways you can take action!

  • Call your State Assembly Member and State Senator to let them know that you support the 5.4% COLA for human services workers and want to see it in the final budget.