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Demand for home health aides is soaring. So why are they still so undervalued?

On most days around 2pm, home health aide Duane Crichlow can be found in an apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, playing catch with his client — a man in his 30s with a developmental disability who is quick to give Crichlow hugs and kisses. If it’s nice outside, Crichlow will walk his client, who is nonverbal and in a wheelchair half the time, down three flights of stairs, hauling the wheelchair back and forth separately.

A 49-year-old Trinidadian who lives in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, Crichlow works for St. Nicholas Alliance Homecare, where he earns between $17-18 per hour. His client likes it when Crichlow imitates Mojo JoJo, a character from the TV series The Powerpuff Girls, or tries out Cardi B’s signature catchphrase, “Okurr.” “I do different characters that make him laugh. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy,” Crichlow said.

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