March 10, 2019

"We hear every day that the unemployment numbers are on the decline. Lowest unemployment in years. However, we also hear about a lack of wage growth. The need for higher pay at jobs. So my question becomes 'If you work a 40 hour a week job should you live in poverty?' It just doesn’t seem right. I know that education, skill, and ability all play into the equation but how can this happen. Let’s do the math, a 1 bedroom apartment in Hyde Park cost almost $2,000 a month. Lights about $75, Gas $ 50, food again $400 month, car payment (so you can get to work) $150 month, Insurance $ 75 month, Gas $30 week/ $120 month. That is almost $3,000 a month.

If you make $20 an hour and work 40 hours you make $800 a week. After taxes you take home about $536 a week or $2,144 a month. I have not calculated health care etc. into my equation. A newly graduated LPN can look at making less than $30,000 a year. After taxes that is about $20,100 a year or $1,675 a month.

So for my $3,000 a month to cover expenses you would need to make approximately $50,000 a year or more. So where does that leave us. In Social Justice we strive to remove root causes and improve the structures. First, we need to think about how to expand access to affordable housing, and work to improve the educational system so everyone has the opportunity to gains skills and ability. Second, participate in a living wage campaign. I am not talking about just raising wages across the board but encouraging a steady increase in salary."

I don't think that you can address poverty unless you address the lack of affordable housing in the cities.                                     
          Matthew Desmond


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