Thanks for Laura Howell's recent commentary on the minimum wage ("Minimum wage debate ignores crucial group," Jan. 15).
After watching my mom care for my brother for almost 30 years (she passed in 2012), I found myself the in-home provider. With that responsibility came the task of making sure that my brother had exceptional care so that I would have peace of mind while I went to work.
There was already a young woman from an agency who bathed, fed and cooked for my brother as well as cleaned the house, changed his bedding and kept his living area tidy. When I say this lady absolutely loved her job, I get emotional because not only did she love her job she had grown to genuinely love caring for my brother.
You see, my brother was quadriplegic and blind. He could not do anything for himself, and to watch this young 33-year-old woman give of her time in caring for my brother was incredible. She would make her way to the house in frigid weather or deep snow storms. Even on her days off, if I needed her she was there.
Somehow we got on the subject of wages, and when she told me that she only made $9 an hour, not only was I stunned, I was appalled that her employer did not recognize the services she provided on a daily basis. She is a single mother of three and balanced caring for my brother and maintaining her own family.
There's no doubt that she was receiving aid from the state or a government agency. However, if she is working a 40-hour work week providing exceptional service, why not pay a comfortable wage that would afford her opportunity for growth?
Why would the state pay her such a minimal wage yet at the same time keep her dependent on a monthly welfare allotment in order to provide for her family?
I support an increase in the minimum wage well beyond the $10.10 being considered for home service providers and others who dedicate their lives to ensure a better quality of care for people with disabilities.
Carol Sanders, Baltimore
To respond to this letter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and contact information.