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Posts Tagged ‘Living Wage’

NCH Statement on Senate Parliamentarian decision regarding Minimum Wage increase

Written by admin on . Posted in News

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Elizabeth MacDonough, the current Senate Parliamentarian ruled today that the Raise the Wage Act would not be included in the current American Rescue Plan. Her decision now puts a temporary halt to the Democrats plan to raise the wage. During a recent townhall, Senator Bernie Sanders I-VT, indicated that this fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour is not over. It’s disappointing for someone that does not have a vote to make that decision, but we will not give up. There are other ways to do this.

There are other economic solutions to focus on beside raising the wage that may make wages more sustainable. Guaranteed Income and Universal Livable Wage would eliminate the argument that jobs and businesses would be lost. It now becomes a matter of the will of the people instead of the skill of the politician.

Background:
In 12 years, the cost of most necessities like housing, transportation and medical care, have increased, and in some cases, astronomically increased. But this the longest period of time the Federal minimum wage has remained stagnant since it was created. While the minimum wage is not the cause of homelessness, it does contribute to it. In the United States, there is not one county where you can afford a two-bedroom apartment working 40 hours per week earning minimum wage.

There are success stories with cities that have raised their own wages to $15 per hour. Millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty, while millions are still there. In the most expensive cities in the nation, $15 per hour keep Americans in poverty. We are exploring things like guaranteed incomes and wages indexed to the local cost of housing. There is a deep income divide that must be addressed. Stay tuned, game on.

Bring America Home Act & Economic Justice in the 2021

Written by admin on . Posted in Blog

By Kelvin Lassiter

Fighting for justice and equality in housing and economics has been going on for quite some time. The National Coalition for the Homeless was formed in the early 1980’s after advocates had already started opening emergency shelters and food programs because of disastrous cuts made to affordable housing and health care through the 1970’s. Activism in the 1980’s led to the Homeless Assistance Act being passed, now known as the McKinney-Vento or HEARTH Act, which has provided the bulk of Federal homeless assistance dollars.

But what about truly ending homelessness? On July 25, 2003, the key tenets of the Bring America Home Act were introduced to the nation. This plan, created through a national campaign, proposed a four-pronged approach to addressing the root causes of homelessness:

  • HOUSING JUSTICE Recognizing housing as a basic human right, increasing investment in federal affordable housing programs
  • HEALTH CARE Calling for single-payer or universal health coverage for all residents of the country
  • ECONOMIC JUSTICE Working towards living wages and benefits, providing labor supports for un- or under-employed workers
  • CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS Ensuring that poor and unhoused persons are free from added criminalization based on their housing or economic status, providing a path to housing and work for those who are formerly incarcerated

While there have been many pieces of the original Bringing America Home Act passed in some form, but there is much more work to do. We are happy to support the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 (H.R. 603), raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. This raise will:

  • Immediately lift over 30 million people out of poverty
  • Move people closer to being able to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent
  • Finally bring the minimum wage to the level it would be factoring in the previous increases since the Fair Labor Standards Act became law in 1938

We encourage you to join us in supporting the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, encouraging your federal elected officials to support strong wage growth for working people. Our advocacy is only strengthened when the citizens of this nation play a part and lawmakers act on their constituent responses.

NCH Members Respond to “Homeless Hotspots”

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Civil Rights

“Homeless Hotspots” – is this marketing campaign a friend or foe to un-housed folks? NCH has been getting a lot of requests-for-comment.  As a membership organization that advocates with (not for) homeless individuals, we depend, rely and are primarily informed by the opinions of people who are homeless. So, we asked our members for their feedback and this is what we heard.

NCH believes it should focus its time and attention on the three primary causes and solutions to America’s homelessness: affordable housing, living wage jobs and accessible healthcare. So, we asked if this was a relevant issue for us to be discussing. The response was clearly a “yes”. No matter how you feel about the issue of “Homeless Hotspots”, it’s a conversation about jobs.

Next, we asked if this was a living wage job. The general agreement was “no”. But, when we asked folks who had done similar types of “jobs”, they said that they took the work knowing how much it paid and that it was temporary. Some people used the experience just get a little spending money and others thought it might help them to get a little work experience before taking on a more permanent job. People compared it to selling streets newspapers. One “Homeless Hotspot” worker described his pay as $20 per day and $2 for each person he could get to use the serve. It worked out to about $8 an hour. So for most folks we asked, it seemed to pay close to a living wage.

Lastly, we asked if jobs like the “Homeless Hotspot” job treated homeless people as less than human, or like an object and not like a person. The responses were clear and consistent. Most people felt that being homeless in America can be, and often times is, a dehumanizing experience. Being homeless means being ignored or treated like “something” unwanted. The “Homeless Hotspot” gave folks on the streets a reason for people to talk to them.

So, NCH’s comment is that we need a lot more affordable housing, many more jobs that pay a living wage, and improved access to healthcare. Unless and until then, we’re going to have homelessness in America. “Homeless Hotspots” isn’t the answer, but it’s not the problem either. If we want to get mad, and NCH thinks we all should, let’s get mad for the right reasons and at the right people. If we’re going to end homelessness, we’re going to need much more funding and lots more new and innovative ideas.

Thanks again to all our members for making us a better organization, and thanks for your support in Bringing America Home!

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