A reality for the lowest paid members of society.
“It’s going to cost $700 a month to rent a room in someone’s house, or over $2,000 for a small house, and that doesn’t include water or electricity.”
This was what my son told me as he stepped into adulthood after finishing high school. He works full time at a grocery store, which means he’s a front-line worker, one of the few who kept his job during this shut-down. At the same time, he’s also one of the lowest-paid members of society, because grocery clerks and other staff have always been minimum-wage workers.
While some countries paid workers who were forced to stay home and lost their jobs back in March when this pandemic hit, sending checks of $2,000 a month, my son, who works full time and takes the ferry to work up to six days a week, barely makes that same $2,000. He’s trying to find his own place to rent and start his own life, and he’s just one of many out there in the same boat. The sky-high housing market has actually taken homes away from essential front-line workers who are not making the big money that other members of society make.
Of course, I’ve wondered how things got so out of control. Shouldn’t access to safe, clean housing be a basic right in all communities? But it isn’t. Then there’s the fact that, as I pointed out to my son, renting a room in someone else’s house brings a whole host of problems.
You have arguments on both sides. Speculators both local and foreign have played the housing market, driving prices up for various reasons. Not to get too technical, but basically, when demand increases and supply decreases, prices go up. At the same time, many have jumped into this way of parking their cash in a property, meaning others may never be able to break into something as basic as owning their own place.
Despite high demand and low housing stock, it may surprise you to discover the number of empty homes in many of these areas. The issue continues to spiral, as these homeowners have their permanent residences someplace else. When did having a home become a privilege for only the wealthy, leaving those on the low end forever and completely frozen out of the market?
The underpaid, overworked minimum-wage earners, those living in poverty from paycheck to paycheck who struggle every month to balance what little they make to pay rent, buy food, pay insurance, and cover all those other necessities, are the kinds of workers that all these high-demand areas need. But at the same time, it seems they’re expected not to have homes. Skyrocketing rent prices mean that those who do find a place to live pay so much for rent that they can’t put away any savings. They can barely buy food. Remember, wages for these workers never increased with the housing market.
So how is this going to help? There was a lot of anger in the housing market even before the pandemic hit, with many saying things like “If you can’t find a home, move someplace else, to another part of the country.” But a reminder to everyone: Those underpaid front-line workers are essential, so if they move and leave the community, who’s going to take their place?
As far as my son, well, I told him that until housing and rent costs come down drastically to something that resembles sanity, he’s unfortunately going to have to live at home. But, unlike my son, many out there do not have that safety net of a roof over their head from mom or dad.
Did you miss my latest release?
New release THE QUIET DAY, Book 4 in The O'Connells romantic suspense series, is now available everywhere!
As a female firefighter in a small town, Suzanne O’Connell knows that every day will go one of two ways: Either nothing happens, or she suddenly finds herself in over her head. Firefighters never, ever say the words “It’s a quiet day!”—because that’s when all hell breaks loose, and their peaceful, easy day suddenly turns into their worst nightmare. This is exactly what happens to Suzanne when she finds herself trapped with Harold Waters, local law enforcement officer and her old flame, and fellow fireman Toby Chandler, who, according to everyone, is the kind of guy you want watching your back.
In an unusual turn of events, the stakes turn deadly, and Suzanne discovers that trusting the wrong man could leave her life hanging in the balance.
"This engaging and insightful book highlights the difficulties some women are faced with in the workplace (sexism, or the good ol’boy network) and their fight to be heard and vindicated. It also highlights the bonds and connections of a strong, loving family. I have grown to love all the O’Connells and can’t wait to read the next book!" ★★★★★ Rebmay, Amazon Canada Reviewer
Another New Release!
Plus, now you can catch up with The O'Connells in a brand new boxed set! That's right--Ryan, Marcus and Karen's stories are now available in one collection! This special set features The Neighbor, The Third Call and The Secret Husband. Grab THE O'CONNELS, BOOKS 1-3 BOXED SET today at Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and Smashwords. On sale at a special reduced price!
GET YOUR AUDIO ON!
Click here to see my current titles available in audiobook!
And did you know... if you already own one of my eBooks on Kindle, you can pick up the audiobook at a reduced price with Whispersync? Whispersync allows you to both read and listen, and you can even switch back and forth between reading the book on Kindle and listening to the book on Audible without losing your place.
Don't forget to check out my eBookstore where there are more ways to save and be rewarded--from refer a friend, to share on social media for a 25% discount, to my new affiliate program! More of my books will be added soon, so be sure to check back often.