32BJ Member Marla Blunt shares her story of affordable housing in Pittsburgh inside the report, A Pittsburgh That Works for Working People by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS). Read more about Marla and other Western Pennsylvania members here.
My name is Marla Blunt. I’m a food service employee at Duquesne University. I had the opportunity to serve as a member on Pittsburgh’s wage review board examining income disparities of those making less than minimum wage. I heard countless stories of people not able to make ends meet and having to make hard decisions. I recall one woman having cancer and having to choose whether to see the specialist or get food. Then there were the stories of people standing in pantry lines for hours for food. As a native Pittsburgher, I know the city can be better.
Right now I feel like the deck is stacked against working families. I see people working extra hours or two jobs and struggling to make it. They are working, but they can’t get decent, affordable housing.
People are coming to Pittsburgh for business and the cost of rent seems like we are living in New York, but the income doesn’t match. People literally have to leave the city for affordable housing. It’s great we have these businesses, but new expensive housing is taking over communities where people have lived all their lives. That’s not fair.