Surviving on minimum wage

COLUMBUS, Ga.- Surviving on minimum wage can be a challenge for most people. Bills pile up and become overwhelming when you can’t keep up with your monthly payments.

Kenny Hardaway lost everything because he couldn’t afford to pay all of his bills with a minimum wage job.

“When you don’t have the money to pay the bills this is what happens, you become homeless. I was a freelance painter and by the time you come home to pay all the bills, you know there wasn’t any money left, “said Hardaway.

The fair market rent in Columbus for a one bedroom is $628, if you’re working 40 hours a week making $7.25 an hour, your check will be less than $500 dollars.

Elizabeth Dillard, the Director at the Homeless Resource Network, says being homeless doesn’t mean unemployed.

“I think people who think that people who experience homelessness don’t work, but that’s not true. We help a lot of people who have part time jobs, but you can’t make it on a full time minimum wage job and you’re certainly not going to make it on a part time job,” said Dillard.

Keeping a roof over your head is one thing, but Candace Poole, the 2-1-1 Information Manager for United Way says if you can’t keep up with your power or electric bills, you can call 2-1-1 for help.

“As soon as you know that you’re going to have trouble making that bill, go ahead and reach out to agencies. Many of the agencies have an intake procedure that requires you to leave a message and then make an appointment, so it could be a good two or three weeks,” said Poole.

Cathy Williams, the President and C.E.O of Columbus NeighborWorks says they plan to create affordable housing in South Columbus next year.

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