Living Wages – An Invitation
February 21, 2022
All of the families participating with Bridge of Hope Harrisonburg-Rockingham fall under the ALICE economic threshold and some even fall under the poverty threshold. Many of our families have debt, whether medical or educational or otherwise. One of the five eligibility criteria for the Bridge of Hope program is willingness to work toward financial stability through employment. Our case managers work closely with each family on budgeting, rental assistance plans, as well as connecting them to financial education workshops.
Most of the women who enter our program come already resourceful and employed in jobs in which they work hard while juggling parenting, childcare, and all other family needs. The problem is that there often just is not enough to make ends meet. This is where Bridge of Hope’s rental assistance comes in big as it gives women opportunities to get job training and/or a new job, pay down debt, and/or build credit.
However, the second leading cause of homelessness remains looming in the background – Lack of a Living Wage. As a Christian faith-based organization, we lean into the abundance of God’s kingdom, where the economics put the last first and the first last because our status is not dependent on class, but of God’s belovedness, which extends to all.
After three and a half years, I am closing out my time on the steering committee of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Living Wage Campaign. This is a non-partisan program under the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in Richmond. It is a localized campaign model that is supporting employers to pay living wages to invest in their valuable workers and in the economic well-being of our whole community here in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. I am proud of the work of this campaign and want to lift it up as a way that you can get involved in helping to address a systemic cause of homelessness that impacts Bridge of Hope families.
If you are an employer or know one (i.e. your hairdresser, place of worship, insurance agency, etc.) you can complete or share the FREE online application to become certified. To learn more, visit: hrlivingwage.org