Earlier this week, a Home Depot employee going by the name Aaliyah posted a video to TikTok explaining that even though she works full time, she has to sleep in her car and shower at Planet Fitness.
Aaliyah, 22, said she is "always so tired" and that she "barely" smiles.
“But I’m still here to make money so I can eat and even get a hotel sometimes,” she wrote in the video.
She recorded follow-up videos showing her car and showing how she gets ready in a Planet Fitness locker room. In one of the videos she shared a link to Home Depot's "Homer Fund," which says it "provides financial assistance to associates facing unexpected hardships."
Home Depot issued a statement to The Daily Dot saying it was "looking into" the woman's videos and her situation.
Her video has been viewed 4 million times and received more than 10,000 comments.
“This is our AMERICA, where you work 40hrs a week and are still homeless,” one user, going by @babewiththeepower, wrote. “Lots of love.”
Others doubted her story, suggesting her situation was simply the result of poor money management.
“If you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, first step would be to manage your money better, if you can save while living in your vehicle,” a user with the name @freeepalestiniaaaanssss wrote.
Others pointed to the fact that she has dyed hair and tattoos – one time purchases – as evidence she is not suffering financial hardship.
It's unlikely that skipping a hair dyeing session would suddenly help Aaliyah afford rent.
The Pathways Housing First Institute revealed that nearly 600,000 Americans were unhoused in 2020, in large part due to financial hardships faced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Stagnant salaries - particularly in retail and service sector jobs - has failed to keep up with increasing rent and inflation.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalitions annual "Out of Reach" report, in 93 per cent of US counties, minimum wage workers working full time would not be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state in the country.
Even when adjusted for the average worker's salary - $18.78 per hour - workers would still be $6 per hour short of what would be needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
According to the report, on average, a minimum wage worker would have to work 97 hours per week in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
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