WHERE WILL THEY LIVE?

I am truly frustrated with the cost of housing across our country right now. I remember moving back to Minnesota as a single parent with three boys, wondering how I would ever be able to afford a place for my family working on my own. The answer to that question was...I really couldn't.

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HARDSHIPS

When I moved back, I was completely starting over. My parents took us all in as I was settling into life in Minnesota and looking for a job. Once I did get a job, I was able to rent a 3-bedroom house in Princeton from a family friend for an incredibly reasonable price. I was so thankful for that opportunity.  But if had to work for minimum wage, I would not have been able to do that.  I started looking into what it would cost someone who makes minimum wage in Minnesota, to rent a one-bedroom apartment in St. Cloud, and this is what I found. Actually, just to let you know, a 2-bedroom apartment will cost you about the same, even though you're getting more space.

I looked into the cost of apartments in St. Cloud and this is what I found. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, the minimum wage will go up to $10.59 in January of 2023 for large businesses, and $8.63 for others.  For the sake of an example, we'll go with the minimum wage of $10.59 to see how much apartment a person renting in St. Cloud could get earning that wage.

TAKE HOME PAY

If you worked 40 hours a week at $10.59, your salary before taxes would be around $1656 for the month. Let's take out 20% for taxes, and now you are down to $1356.

I searched several different apartment complexes in St. Cloud by visiting this website: www.apartments.com, and this is what I found. The average price for rent in St. Cloud for a 1 bedroom apartment was $850. That would leave you with $506 left to pay for your health insurance, car insurance, car payment, groceries, and anything else you might need.  Is minimum wage enough to survive on your own?  Probably not, unless you are getting assistance from the state.

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash
Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash
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THE NLIHC

So these figures are just me looking at one-bedroom apartments in St. Cloud. The pros at The National Low Income Housing Coalition give us full-on details about the state of Minnesota.

According to their site, a person would have to earn a minimum wage of $15.79 an hour to afford a 2-bedroom apartment. That averages out to about $33,000 a year.

Knowing all this information, a person would either have to have a roommate, or a spouse to afford a two-bedroom.  The social butterflies out there may not have a problem doing that, but I know a lot of people that just don't have close friends that they would consider living with, and not everyone has a significant other. Options? Live with your parents? Live in a tent? Live in a car? If we want to make sure that people can live comfortable life, then we need to do something about it.

If we want people to work those tough jobs that keep our economy going, we may need to get real with minimum wage. The folks working minimum wage jobs typically are working where many others do not want to be. Give people something to live for. Working two jobs around the clock isn't a great answer, especially for those who have children they are trying to raise.

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