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Debbie , MN

It could happen to anyone

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My name is Debbie. I stay in a homeless shelter and poverty wages keep me there. My grocery job at ten cents above minimum wage just isn’t enough.

My story could have happened to anyone — and it happens to many women. I have an associate’s degree and for a while my late husband and me were solidly middle class. But then an accident left him paraplegic. I left work to care for him, and my elderly parents, who were also ill. By the time my husband passed, our savings was almost gone, and the recession started eating into it. Caring for my folks without an income meant just scraping by, so I went uninsured. At that point, an undiagnosed and untreated medical issue brought me to rock bottom.

Raising the minimum wage to at least $9.50 wouldn’t be a silver bullet, but at least it would give me a sense of hope. Also, a raise would give me enough money to move out of the shelter into an efficiency apartment. Even the conservative folks that I know should support this, because it would help people need less public assistance.

That’s why I’m standing with other workers and TakeAction Minnesota to demand an end to poverty wages.