Poverty Wages Hurt More Than Just Workers’ Wallets

Tomorrow, the DC Council has the opportunity to override the Mayor’s veto on Bill 2-062, the “Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013” (LRAA).

On Friday, we blogged about the high cost of living in the District and how without a livable wage, it is nearly impossible for DC residents to find and secure affordable housing. But it is also impossible for them to end their reliance on public benefit programs like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)/food stamps, and Medicaid. In this way, low wages not only hurt those wage earners and their families, but also cost all DC taxpayers.

A family supported by a minimum-wage earner ($8.25/hr) will continue to qualify for and depend on SNAP assistance, TANF, subsidized housing vouchers, and Medicaid to financially survive in the District. Even a family supported by TWO minimum-wage earners would continue to need SNAP assistance and Medicaid. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute highlights this issue on its blog, citing a House of Representatives report that details the high cost in taxpayer funded public benefits relied upon by employees of Wal-Mart — whose poverty wages render them unable to make ends meet without benefits.

Conversely, a family with one or two living-wage earners could significantly reduce its reliance on public benefits programs, and depending on the size on the family, move off of public benefits completely. A living wage, like that provided by the LRAA, would result in financial savings for the District and the federal government.

It’s not too late for the DC Council to make the right decision. Take action today and contact the following Councilmembers and urge them to take the first step towards a living wage for ALL DC Residents by overturning Mayor Gray’s veto of the LRAA. Also, join us tomorrow at 12 outside DC Council as we rally for DC’s Living Wage Bill: https://www.facebook.com/events/538654459539533/.

Tommy Wells – (888) 264-6154
David Catania – (202) 724-7772
Mary Cheh – (202) 724-8062
Muriel Bowser – (202) 724-8052
Yvette Alexander – (202) 724-8068

About Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless envisions a just and inclusive community for all residents of the District of Columbia, where housing is a human right and where every individual and family has equal access to the resources they need to thrive. Our mission is to use the law to make justice a reality for our neighbors who struggle with homelessness and poverty. Combining community lawyering and advocacy to achieve our clients’ goals, our expert staff and network of volunteer attorneys provide low barrier, comprehensive legal services at intake sites throughout the District of Columbia, helping our clients to access housing, shelter, and life-saving services. Rooted in the experiences of this client work, we effectively blend system reform efforts, policy advocacy, community education and client engagement to advocate for long term improvements in local and federal programs that serve the low- and no-income community.
This entry was posted in DC Policies and Plans, Homelessness, Housing, Poverty, Take Action, Wealth Gap. Bookmark the permalink.

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