Washington State Home Care Cooperatives

Washington leads the nation in the number of caregiver-owned homecare cooperatives that have opened throughout the state.

Home Care Cooperatives are a place where both clients and caregivers thrive. The Northwest Cooperative Development Center assists caregivers in developing home care cooperatives in Washington, and soon, throughout the Northwest!

Washington State is home to five home care cooperatives, the oldest being Circle of Life Caregivers Cooperative, which launched in July 2007.

All the home care cooperatives were started in their communities by groups of local caregivers who banded together to build jobs for themselves that allowed them to continue in their field with dignity and meaningful wages.  In a caregiver-owned home care cooperative, the caregivers have a say in their wages and earn a share of the profits of the business, and have input in all business-related decisions.  In these co-ops, the board of directors is made up of and elected by the caregiver-owners.

There are a plethora of benefits to be found in the worker-owned cooperative model, both for the clients and the caregiver-owners! While the industry standard for caregiver turnover hovers around 67%, the Home Care Cooperative industry has cut that turnover rate down to 29%, more than half, showing that caregivers choose to stay in their co-ops. To add to that, home care co-ops in the Pacific Northwest tend to pay about

$2/hr more on average than their industry counterparts. The bottom line is that Home Care Co-ops support both caregivers as well as the people they serve!

A principle among all cooperatives is “Co-ops support co-ops”.  An integral part of the success of the WA Home Care Co-ops is that they support each other and ensure one anothers success.

The Northwest Cooperative Development Center has provided assistance to all of these caregiver cooperatives in an effort to help them realize their goals as business owners, and continues this robust effort to create more equitable work and workplaces for caregivers throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Helmed by NWCDC Cooperative Development Specialist and Home Care Cooperative Developer Deborah Craig, the NWCDC continues in its efforts to see equitable jobs created for caregivers throughout the northwest.

Are you interested in opening a home care cooperative?  Contact us today- fill out the form below!  

Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative - Bellingham, WA

Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative opened it’s doors in 2009, and is the oldest and largest home care cooperative in Washington State.  As is often the case, Circle of Life Caregivers Co-op, was started from necessity. A woman needed help taking care of her elderly father and she called out to other women for help. Today, the cooperative is enjoying a time of growth. Circle of Life continues to provide high-quality in home care to Whatcom County’s elders as well as grow their membership of caregivers. They currently have over 30 caregivers, the majority of whom are owners of their cooperative.  

Peninsula Homecare Cooperative - Port Townsend, WA

Peninsula Homecare Cooperative opened for business on February 8th, 2016. Their co-op was founded by a group of experienced caregivers who held that coalescing their resources and experience into a licensed home care agency was the best way to provide consistent and exceptional care to our community.  Together they recognized the need for a different kind of homecare agency– one that respected caregivers and the essential work they do; one that paid caregivers well; one that included caregivers in decision making and in shaping the culture of their workplace. Peninsula Homecare Cooperative was warmly welcomed in Jefferson County and has been providing exceptional care and creating exceptional jobs ever since.   “For us caregiving is easy… after all it is our chosen and passionate career.  But we are more than a caregiving agency… we are a worker-owned cooperative where the principles of a democratic workplace must be understood and practiced daily..” (PHC Founder, Kippi Waters)

Capital Homecare Cooperative - Olympia, WA

Capital Homecare Cooperative opened it’s doors as the third home care cooperative on March 2nd, 2018 in Olympia Washington. A women led and lgbtqai-friendly business from the beginning, CHC has pioneered employee empowerment in their community while providing exceptional, person-centered care. Lead by caregivers, CHC has offered around 33% in wage increases annually to their caregivers, notably provided financial support to workers during the Covid19 crisis in 2020-2022, and seen caregivers do incredible work of the business including studying and updating bylaws, creating annual budgets, assisting with marketing and public outreach, becoming certified trainers, and more. They continue to grow and thrive with the support of their community, and to set a standard in quality care.

Ridgeline Homecare Cooperative - Port Angeles, WA

Ridgeline Homecare Co-op in Port Angeles, WA opened its doors as the fourth home care co-op in February of 2020, in perfect sync with the outbreak of Covid19.  In spite of the plethora of challenges this burgeoning co-op faced, this incredible, female led, caregiver led team modeled the cooperative difference so exceptionally that within a year they began to flourish, and are now showing wonderful profits and rapid growth.  Their caregivers are used to rural and beautiful conditions as they provide in-home care with the backdrop of the world famous Hurricane Ridge and the Olympia Mountain Range.

Heartsong Homecare Cooperative - Anacortes, WA

Heartsong Homecare Cooperative opened its doors in September 2021, it is the fifth and most recent home care cooperative to open its doors in Washington state! Located in Anacortes WA, Heartsong Homecare Cooperative serves the beautiful Skagit and Island County Communies on and around Whidbey Island. Caregiver founded, owned and lead, Heartsong Homecare Cooperative has experienced steady growth since they opened their doors and are already an integral part of the Pacific Northwest Cooperative Community.

Are you interested in learning more about the home care cooperative movement? Are you interested in starting your own home care co-op? Send us a quick message to learn more:


“It seems quite natural that our office team would be composed of a multi-generational team of women. Women throughout time have nurtured these cooperative values and our COL, home care cooperative is a perfect place to grow a wild and wonderful workplace.”

We celebrate our democratic workplace and strive to create win/win solutions for caregivers, our office team, and our clients.  Board President, Julia Nelson, shares that sentiment:We are all in this together, and I have never worked anywhere else that takes cooperation and community to heart in such a way that Circle of Life does.”

– Kris Buettner, Administrator- Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative 

 “Worker owned businesses level the playing field for women. In a democratic workplace, societal norms of male dominance are not welcome. Women are natural leaders – intuitive, inclusive, and fair.  These traits are encouraged in cooperative business settings.”

-Kippi Waters, Administrator- Peninsula Homecare Cooperative 

“Our current Board is made up of women and non-binary people, and we often encourage each other to talk about how we’re doing as people. We make time to share in each meeting what we’re struggling with, what we’re excited about, and what we’ve found to be rewarding. Oftentimes, we share struggles and experiences believing we’re the only ones with them, only to find relief in knowing our fellow board members can easily relate. We end up bouncing ideas off of each other without fear of harsh criticism or overlook, are honest in our discussions about what works and what doesn’t, and find an option that meets our needs.  Without that camaraderie between us, we would not be able to grow as a business or as people at the rate we are now. As a young woman, I feel incredibly lucky to have started my career in this co-op.”

-Clarissa Magdich, Board Member and Caregiver-Owner- Capital Homecare Cooperative 

Heartsong Homecare Co-op (1)
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