Blog Post, Motivational

It’s the Monday Blog! A reality for the lowest paid members of society.

 May 11, 2020

By  Lorhainne Eckhart

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.

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Another New Release!

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ANYTHING FOR YOU, Cat and Xander's short story, is my newest audiobook release.  Have a listen today on Audible or Apple Audiobooks!

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Lorhainne Eckhart

With flawed strong characters, characters you can relate to, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Lorhainne Eckhart writes the kind of books she wants to read. She is frequently a Top 100 bestselling author in multiple genres, and her second book ever published, The Forgotten Child, is no exception. With close to 900 reviews on Amazon, translated into German and French, this book was such a hit that the long-running Friessen Family series was born. Now with over ninety titles and multiple series under her belt her big family romance series are loved by fans worldwide. A recipient of the 2013, 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Award for Suspense and Romance, Lorhainne lives on the sunny west-coast Gulf Island of Salt Spring Island, is the mother of three, her oldest has autism and she is an advocate for never giving up on your dreams.

Lorhainne Eckhart

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