One question that has been presented to us when we speak about the need for affordable housing is why can’t our clients get a higher paying job.
There is no doubt wages have increased. Unfortunately they have not risen at the same rate as the increase in rent. Plus some clients do not have an advanced degree which could lead to an even higher rate of pay. Most clients, even if they have received a raise, are further behind. It also is not just rent that has increased. We are all paying more for gas, supplies and if a client does not have food share they are paying more at the grocery store.
Second, while the bus in the city of Waukesha is crucial it is also limited. It does not go outside of the city and it only runs certain times. One of our shelter graduates works a second shift.
This means she can take the bus to work but the service has stopped running by the time she is off work. We recently had a bike donated for her to ride to work. Others try to address the transportation issue by purchasing a used car which often turns out to be unreliable. Too often it becomes another unplanned expense.
The final issue which can impact work choices is the cost and availability of child care. Some parents are making choices to select jobs that allow them to be around when their children are home. This is partly in response to the exorbitant cost of child care but it also comes from a place of a parent wanting to be present to their children. This might be more true when a parent is un-partnered. It is difficult to fault a parent for making that choice.
This brings us back to the fact that homelessness and the current housing crisis is complicated. Often these issues are larger than our agency, but we are committed to offering a positive response to help families avoid the negative impact of homelessness and poverty.