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Living Wage Campaign: The Answer to Occupy Wall Street

(November 08, 2011)

AUSTIN, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 11/08/11 -- As Americans camp out in cities across the country to protest economic inequality, Richard Troxell, a National Coalition for the Homeless board member and author of "Looking Up at the Bottom Line," (www.HouseTheHomeless.org), offers a goal for Occupy Wall Street.

Get people to sign the petition at www.universallivingwage.org.

Troxell is leading a campaign to replace the minimum wage with a Universal Living Wage that's proportionate to the living expenses where the worker lives and works. It would allow anyone working 40 hours a week to afford at least an efficiency apartment regardless of where they live. It's a concept already in use by the U.S. military.

"The problem is that in any U.S. city, the minimum wage isn't enough to support a full time worker," he says. "Housing costs in major metropolitan areas are far beyond the reach of minimum wage earners, and once someone gets a job, they no longer qualify for support programs."


Already organizations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, from the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick, N.J., to the Buffalo Musicians Local, No. 90 in New York, have endorsed the wage. (Visit universallivingwage.org and click "endorsements.")

The solution is laid out in Troxell's new book, "Looking Up." In its simplest form, it calls for:

  • Workers putting in a minimum 40-hour week
  • Workers spending no more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
  • Index the minimum wage to the local cost of housing, as set each year by the U.S. Department of HUD (Fair Market Rents)

"Homeless people would be able to find jobs and housing, and feed themselves without public assistance," Troxell says. "That will help reduce the economic burden on taxpayers, while at the same time stimulating the economy."

Businesses would benefit from higher employee retention rates -- and thus lower new employee training costs, and higher productivity.

About Richard R. Troxell

Richard Troxell is national chairman of the Universal Living Wage Campaign. He's the founder and director of Legal Aid for the Homeless, and House the Homeless of Austin, Texas, and a National Coalition for the Homeless board member. His work has been recognized by the United Nations, the Pennsylvania Senate and Philadelphia Bar Association and the Texas governor, among others.

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Ginny Grimsley
ginny@newsandexperts.com


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