Raising the bar on helping less fortunate

Bob Geary and Joel Berg have got it right: To solve either homelessness or hunger will take only a modest investment of taxpayer dollars that somehow are hard to come up with, even in the good times (“Progress slow in ending homelessness in Wake” and “Q&A: Anti-hunger activist Joel Berg,” Dec. 17). Since many, if not most, of the people suffering either condition already have jobs, successful living wage campaigns also bring relief.

The City of Durham has the oldest living wage policy in the Southeast. In the 10 years since its enactment, the county government, the public schools and Duke University have followed suit, and now more than 1,000 entry-level workers bring home thousands of dollars more each year to pay for housing, food and other basic needs.

Now the Orange County Organizing Committee has raised the bar by launching a campaign for a housing wage. Interestingly, that group’s organizer, Ivan Parra, has been trained by some of the same people who trained our Community-Organizer-in-Chief Barack Obama. I’m hopeful that a lot of the energy that went into his election will roll into this kind of issue work.

Frank Hyman