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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.

Jeff Chapman of Idaho
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’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.

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.

Josh – Working, Yet Struggling to Cover Family Expenses

With the cost of housing, Josh struggles with getting ahead and meeting his family’s monthly expenses.

With an estimated $800-$900 / month for 1-bedroom subsidized housing, his family struggles to meet their financial needs.

Josh Idaho minimum wage
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Prior to March of 2020, Josh rented a 3-bedroom home in Caldwell for his wife and 16-year-old son. Josh lost his job due to the COVID pandemic and his wife sustained severe back injuries in a home accident, preventing her from contributing to the household income. As a result, the family was forced to make a series of moves – from the rental home to a 1-bedroom apartment from which they were evicted, missing eligibility for the Center for Disease Control Eviction Restriction by hours. From there they found temporary housing in a hotel, and then found shelter with Interfaith Sanctuary.

Josh has worked in several technical support jobs paying $13 to $15 / hour. He is currently employed in the Amazon warehouse, a physical job with long 10-hour days and only two 30-minute breaks. Health insurance benefits are provided; however, premiums further reduce his take-home pay.

With the cost of housing, Josh struggles with getting ahead and meeting his family’s monthly expenses. With an estimated $800-$900 / month for 1-bedroom subsidized housing, his family struggles to meet their financial needs. Josh and his family continue to search for permanent housing.