By Deborah Craig, Cooperative Development Specialist

Northwest Cooperative Development Center

Located in beautiful Port Townsend, WA, Peninsula Homecare Co-op (PHC) is open for business and ready to serve the elders of their community.  With 12 experienced caregivers and several clients already on a waiting list, this co-op is ready to go!

Where other home care agencies in the Port Townsend area pay between $10.00 – $11.50 an hour, newly hired PHC caregivers will start at $13.00 an hour and move up to $15.00 an hour once they become members (a three to six month process.) And, with membership comes ownership, participation in a democratic workplace and the potential to share in the profits of the business.

The start up road to PHC was a relatively smooth one.  With very few bumps in the road it took just 10 months for the initial idea born in April of 2015 to become a reality.  The smooth start up owes its success to several factors, one being having the right people at the table from the beginning.  Experienced caregivers with the clear goal and commitment of creating a business that would provide excellent care for elders and dignified, sustainable jobs for caregivers.

Another factor for PHC’s smooth start up lies just a short ferry ride and a two hour drive north to the town of Bellingham, the home of Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative (COL), a successful 7 year old home care co-op.  In the true spirit of the 6th Cooperative principle – Cooperation among Cooperatives – COL has provided PHC with advice, encouragement and inspiration.  Sharing their by-laws, policies and procedures and providing training and insight, COL helped the Port Townsend caregivers understand the “big picture” and continues to be a resource to the new co-op.

Its been an honor to work with this group of home care professionals.  Please join me in congratulating their success and wishing them luck in their future!