Workforce Needs in California’s Homecare System

Homecare, otherwise known as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), enables more than 300,000 low-income elderly and younger disabled recipients to stay in their homes rather than live in more expensive institutional settings. This innovative, cost-effective, consumer-directed program has become a national model that other states are examining, and is a vital component of California’s continuum of services for those who need long term care.

LOSH collaborates with a diverse cross-section of individuals – from academia, public policy, labor, and consumer advocacy groups – to conduct and disseminate research on the benefits of state support for homecare services as well as the protections needed for homecare workers. This research project builds on the work of the California Homecare Research Working Group, funded by the UC Institute for Labor and Employment in 2001.


  • Briefing Paper: Workforce Needs in California’s Homecare System
    This briefing paper summarizes the substantial advantages of California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, and argues for the continuation of the program in the face of potential budget cuts. The authors document the higher costs to the state of nursing home care compared to home care, and outline the positive effects of workers’ higher wages and benefits on worker recruitment and labor supply, worker turnover, the quality of care, and lowered public costs.
  • Prepublication Report: Homecare Worker Organizing in California: An Analysis of a Successful Strategy
    This article examines recent struggles to unionize the state’s homecare workers and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. The authors survey campaigns in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Alameda counties, noting the obstacles to success and highlighting future issues of concern. The authors find a strategy of worker organization, policy intervention, and coalition building as the key to success in all cases.


More information on homecare research is available on the UC Berkeley Labor Center website.