Many of us know there is a worker shortage in the United States and many of us are directly affected here in Citrus County, especially in the service sector. This has also caused friction between business owners who have to raise salaries to compensate some of the inflation issues we are facing.
I have sat in and around some brainstorming sessions, unofficially of course, on why some of it exists and do we have solutions. It goes without saying we can’t manufacture people in a quick hurry. For most of us, it is at least 18 years to get ready for the workforce.
One of the areas we do have a little data on is the working mother. Some of the mothers are single, others are married. Because of the area rent inflation, I believe more mothers than ever before if they are single are living doubled up or on someone else’s floor.
This might be in evidence by the numbers the Early Learning Coalition reports on how many of our schoolchildren are homeless. The mothers who have mates have in some cases figured out their budgets; let’s say, anywhere from minimum wage to $15 an hour and by the time a mother of four pays for her child care (the ranges vary greatly depending upon the age of the child and in some cases the child care does not take care of a newborn or have space for all of the children) she also has to pay for an extra vehicle, insurance, gas and so forth.
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So, for today, let’s look at a family with four children. If she makes $12 an hour and takes home a net of about $1,800 a month and each of her children average $150 a week for care (I heard numbers higher), a car payment of $300 and insurance of $100, you start to get the picture.
This does not even take into consideration the stress and time. I think many mothers just make the decision to stay home and raise their children. With these numbers, a single mother simply cannot make it work for the rents being charged today.
I don’t have an easy answer for these problems, but I would like to help us slow down and really look at some hard facts.
DuWayne Sipper is the executive director of The Path of Citrus County, a faith-based homeless shelter. Contact him at 527-6500 or email@example.com.
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