Dec 21, 2017

Letters on the working homeless

Day laborers in Osaka, Japan. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last week, we reported on the phenomenon of the working homeless — people who have jobs but live in a car, in a shelter, or any place they can. We received a lot of emails in response. Here is an edited sampling.

Dave Oberting, Code4Life: It's very rare to be working full time and be homeless at the same time. That's why governments don't track it very well — because it is thankfully extremely rare. The poverty rate nationally for people who work full time is less than 3%.

But the working homeless, the marginally attached to the workforce, the underemployed, and the part-timers who want full-time work all share the same affliction – a lack of skills. With rare exceptions, your salary is generally commensurate with the amount of value you add to your employer. If you're making minimum wage, that's a signal that you need to upgrade your skills.

Forget college — the future is about the acquisition of higher level skills, by whatever means necessary. A computer programmer is just a modern-day carpenter.

Zachary Wensink: It would be interesting to look into the barriers that keep the working homeless from moving to an area where they can afford housing, with the same skill set. I live in Sheboygan County, Wis., where the economy is booming and employers are desperate for workers, and I have a hard time figuring out why there are these disparities.

William N. Moore: The working homeless anomaly will continue until the affordable housing supply exceeds affordable housing demand. This is an old problem that housing developers have not addressed. Sleeping in an automobile is an unpleasant experience. I recently saw a gentleman washing his feet in the men's room at a Target Store. I wonder if he was a working homeless person.

Go deeper

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy