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Tess, A Caregiver and Community Organizer with the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants PAWIS

“Once caregivers come here, they don’t have a place to live so they’re forced to stay in the care home. Actually, they have the choice whether to live in or stay out of the house but they would [rather] just be live-in caregivers to have free board and lodging. It’s also a big help because they won’t have any expenses for housing or transportation to come to work. But then, that’s where the exploitation comes in.

If you ask the caregivers, “Do you still work when you’re not on duty?” they say, “No I’m not supposed to be working”, but if there’s work, they have to do it. They have to get up in the middle of the night when someone is getting up to prevent emergencies. Only a few care homes offer to extend your hours but not all. They don’t always stay out [of the care home] because of the difficulty of finding a low-cost apartment. They are forced to live in the care home. It [would be] good if there was a group that built a community or cooperative apartments for the caregivers so that later on, all Filipino caregivers would live in a low-cost apartment.”

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