DeLand, FL - The recent increase in the minimum wage to $10 per hour and the increase to the minimum cash wage an employer must pay a tipped employee to $6.98 per hour should help the working homeless to be able to pay for housing. Stetson University professor and Vice President of the National Coalition for The Homeless Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown says that's not necessarily the case. "The reality is over 40 percent of those experiencing homelessness are often working very, very hard jobs, in fact, more than one job, up to two or three jobs, trying to survive."
Dr. Shankar-Brown said the COVID-19 pandemic only exasperated all of the issues and growing the issues for homeless people. She said the increase in the minimum wage is only a small step in a significant crisis. "That raise is not going to be ample or sufficient enough to really feel any sort of tangible change."
World Homelessness Day, created on Oct. 10, 2021, came about through global, online discussions. Dr. Shankar-Brown said the people involved were social workers, youth service providers, and others working with individuals and families experiencing homelessness. She said while the U.S. is seeing some of the highest numbers in the history of the country of homeless now, many other countries are dealing with the same issues. "World Homelessness Day really gives us an opportunity to amplify and educate communities to break stereotypes, to start to say "Let's organize," "Let's look what is working." and "What is not working," and collectively pull together to push for social change and justice."
The National Coalition for the Homeless now has a national grass-roots campaign with hundreds of organizations to support our campaign "Bring America Home Now." We're going to be pushing policy, legislative efforts, really looking at systemic and structural change. Housing is a fundamental human right. We need a livable income and to make sure that healthcare, civil rights, racial equity, and education are prioritized."
Dr. Shankar-Brown says that there are many ways members of the community can help. If you can, financially investing in helping individuals, families, and youth experiencing homelessness goes the furthest. She also encourages people to volunteer and practice informed voting.
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