Right now, the cheapest grand junction apartment listed on runs $850 a month, that’s more than a third of what a full-time minimum wage earner would make. That’s the metric most landlords use to tell if you make enough to rent from them.

Inflation is at a record high and costs from gas to groceries and beyond reflect that. Most individuals and families do their best to live within their means, but when costs are as high as they are now, everything matters. I spoke to a man named joe who told us about his predicament in February. 

In some situations, the government assistance is able to make up the difference. But joe isn’t the only one who thinks it comes too slowly.  Workforce Center director Lindsay Bullock tells me some are forced to take second jobs.

Census Bureau data shows from 2010 to 2018 the number of people with more than one job steadily increased.  Those numbers fell during the pandemic, but data shows they’re climbing again. Men are more likely to have a second job than women and African Americans are more likely to have a second job than their white, Hispanic, or Asian peers. But Bullock has a warning for those picking up a second job, “i think any time you have second income it’s important to report that right away so you’re not getting into situations where you have to repay.” If a second job pushes you above the income threshold, you’ll have to repay some of the federal aid you received.

Meantime, hundreds like rob who are still trying to get or renew food stamps, wait and worry.