Minimum wage is not living wage

LUCAS COUNTY (WTOL) - It seems like everyone's has a side hustle these days.

A new study says if you're making minimum wage in our area you have to work and extra job, or two, just to make it.

Dustin Reno was waiting for the bus as he does a couple times per week to make some extra money donating plasma.

He's already finished his factory work day job, but does what he can to earn a couple extra bucks on the side. He said he also does odd jobs like mowing grass in his spare time when he can.

"It's a struggle out here for real. By the time you get your paycheck, and pay your bills and all that, you're broke,"  Reno said.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition study is aptly titled "Out of Reach".

If households are spending no more than 30 percent of their gross income on rent and utilities, living comfortably in our area is unattainable.

Mychal Smith also works in a factory, and considers himself lucky to have his job. He said many people he knows even after they get paid face the reality that it just isn't enough.

"Prices of everything are going up. Especially food. On top of that rent, and a lot of people have to make the choice between feeding their self and their kids, and paying rent," Smith said.

The fair market rent for a two-bedroom in Ohio sits at just under $800 per month. That means you would need to make $15.25 per hour. Minimum wage is currently just over half that much at $8.30.

Tyrone Riley, Toledo City Councilman for District 1, knows many of those he serves in the community face this issue.

"We've been looking at the forecast for the economy for several years now and that there needs to be an increase in the minimum wage. It's just only been a question of, how much," Riley said.

The numbers in Michigan are similar, minimum wage is a little higher at $9.25, but so is the cost of living, raising the comfortable living wage to $16.85 per hour. Meaning, even if minimum wage goes up, and no other costs face any inflation, you'll likely still need a second job to make ends meet.

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