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Jeff – Working his way back into a home

Jeff worked hard all his life, and now he makes $11/hr — more than he’s ever made — and it’s still hard to make ends meet. He can’t imagine getting by on $7.25 / hr — Idaho must raise its minimum wage so hardworking people like Jeff can support themselves and their families. Read Jeff’s story

“I make $11 an hour. To be honest, I have never made that much money in my life,” says Jeff about his job as Food Distribution Manager at Interfaith Sanctuary in Boise. His work history includes folding laundry ($7.50 / hr), janitorial ($8.00 / hr) and window manufacturing ($10.75 / hr ). Jeff admits the window manufacturing was a good job, but, “I ended up screwing that up.” Conflicts with a roommate forced Jeff to leave his housing arrangement. Jeff has lived at Interfaith Sanctuary since 2019.

Jeff saves as much money as possible with his part-time job. He hopes to save $7,000 by the time his position ends. He would like to work in a restaurant, live on his own and give back to the community. That dream isn’t easy to achieve, even with the support of subsidized housing.

Jeff Chapman of Idaho
Jeff’s Independent Living Budget:Communal HousingSubsidized 1 bedroom apt
Ongoing monthly expenses$128$128
Housing*$500$800
Food$300$300
Transportation**$20$20
Payroll Taxes (estimate)$120$200
Total Monthly Expenses$1,068$1,448
Needed monthly income to move from Interfaith Sanctuary*$1,667$2,667
Equivalent fulltime hourly salary (assumes 160 hrs / mo):$10$17
*Housing requires 30% of income be paid as rent
** Transportation costs low as Jeff only has a bicycle

Jeff’s situation represents the reality of anyone starting from scratch, regardless of their age. Low wages make it nearly impossible to live independently. Entry-level wages in the food service industry range from $8.50 to $12.50 per hour. The communal living option is within reach as long as Jeff can find a fulltime job!

We can do better, Idaho. Idahoans for a Fair Wage will be his first customers when he gets a restaurant job.