The living wage for a single adult is $18.70 per hour. This reflects what is needed to meet basic needs and maintain some ability to deal with emergencies and plan ahead. The living wage for a single adult with two children is $35.51 per hour.
Virginia’s minimum wage of $7.25 does not allow working families to make ends meet. The state’s minimum wage provides less than 40 percent of a living wage for a single adult and only one-fifth of the living wage for a single adult with two children.
“I work hard every day to make sure my son doesn’t ever know that we live in poverty.”
I am a 39-year-old father who has lived in Richmond, Virginia most of my life. I am also an army veteran and now work for $9.68 an hour in environmental services for a hospital, a service that is the first line of defense against hospital-acquired infections.
My son, my pregnant fiancée, and I, are living in an efficiency apartment and trying to make ends meet on my salary.
I am devoted to my family and want to make sure they are provided for. Even though I have a good education and a strong work history, I had to take a low-paying job because I couldn’t find higher paying work that was convenient to get to by bus. I don’t have a car.
Although I am working a custodial job, my real passion
Education is my calling and I’m working on finishing my degree so I can be a teacher. I’m not making any excuses. I know I have to work hard to get ahead and I will do whatever I have to do to take care of my family.
I know all too well that I don’t make a living wage. I wish I could afford to save for emergencies and move into an apartment with more bedrooms.
It’s tough to get ahead when there’s always something that comes up and I don’t have money saved to afford the extra expenses. I’d like to move my family into a home with more bedrooms and get a car so I can find higher paying work, but there’s no way to save when I’m struggling to get by now.
Thankfully, I have veterans’ benefits and I’m able to get health care. I would be unable to afford the health insurance premiums on my salary. Since Virginia hasn’t expanded Medicaid, I can’t access that help under the federal Affordable Care Act.
As a veteran, I understand sacrifice. I work hard every day to make sure my son doesn’t ever know that we live
It’s hard, but my son doesn’t know that. We laugh and love each other as a family, but not having enough money wears on you and puts stress on relationships.