Getting a job ain’t the end of the story….Posted by in Homelessness
I got a job. Yes, really. A homeless mother got a job that pays $10.00 an hour, before taxes. Getting a job is all it takes to get out of homelessness, right? So while we’re here why don’t we see what exactly $10 an hour will get you. Say I get 40 hours a week, which by the way is no guarantee but for the sake of argument, say I get 40 hours a week. That adds up to $1,600.00 a month, gross. Subtract current federal, social security and Medicare taxes of $172.30 and I’m left with a net of $1,427.70. Before and after school childcare for my 8 year old will run about $600 a month (if I go with a daycare center). That leaves me with $827.70. Out of that $827.70, figure $320 for gas at the current price of $4 a gallon for my van; now I’m down to $507.70. Now subtract $400 for food for a family of three. Cheapest car insurance I could find for the van online for my state is $175.27 after a $30.50 coupon. Is there enough left over to get out of homelessness?
I found out that if I want to get health insurance through my employer for my kids, it will cost me over $800 a month so you can see why I can’t do that. By the way, currently all I get from the state is food stamps and basic health insurance. What do you think happens to those benefits when you report to the state that you got a job?
The options I have look like this:
Scenario 1: I take another job (if I can get one) which will put me at risk of having another stroke/seizure.
Scenario 2: I don’t take the job and try for a higher paying position somewhere else but…that runs the risk of running out of resources without any guarantee I will be hired to a higher paying job.
Scenario 3: At this point I don’t know if I’ll be working days or nights but say I get assigned to a night shift. I can’t afford childcare or a babysitter at the going rate of $10 an hour and forgo childcare altogether by leaving my kids to sleep in the car while I work (something I actually did while working an $8.00 an hour job at night when we lived in our old Minnie Winnebago).
Scenario 4: I abandon my kids to the state and care only for myself. My teenager is 17 and would be aged out of the Foster Care system within a year and be on the streets herself.
Scenario 5: I commit suicide. (Not that I would but I know of mom’s in my situation that think about it)
The only way I can get another job is to fake not being homeless. I have to make it look like I’m currently working somewhere so it doesn’t look like I’ve got any gaps in my employment history. Second, now that I just lost the only address I had, what am I going to put on a job application, “General Delivery” to the nearest post office? At this point, all I can do is go in tomorrow and find out what kind of hours I’ll be given and how soon I’ll be starting. Whatever happens tomorrow determines my next move because if I can’t get a guaranteed 40 hours a week, I’ll be spending more money than I’ll make because this job, only pays once a month. Without an immediate safety net or support network that works with where I’m at, all I’m doing is going around in circles.