The mayor of West Virginia’s capital proposes a $15 minimum wage for city workers

The mayor of the West Virginia capital said she would work to raise the minimum wage for city workers to $15 an hour this year and work to provide free or low-cost housing for the mentally ill.

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin, a Democrat who was recently re-elected to a second term, said every employee in the city has received some sort of raise in the last four years. But she said she wants to take those efforts one step further.

“We will ask the council to work with us to ensure that there is not a city employee in the City of Charleston making less than $15 an hour,” Goodwin said during her State of the City speech Tuesday Night.

Goodwin didn’t say how many city employees currently make less than $15 an hour. The state minimum wage in West Virginia is $8.75 per hour, which is $1.50 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Congress has not increased the federal minimum wage since 2009.


Four states and 36 cities and counties have set the minimum wage at a minimum of $15 an hour for some or all workers starting Jan. 1, according to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project.

The mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, has proposed that all city workers earn a minimum wage of at least $15. She also wants to provide affordable housing options for mental health professionals.

In her speech, Goodwin also said that implementing low-cost to free housing options for mental health professionals could help attract more people who work in the field to Charleston.

Goodwin said the city is working to identify five properties in Charleston that could be used to house mental health workers who agree to work in the city’s “critical need areas.” These critical areas include children and young people living with trauma from violence, the elderly and people affected by homelessness, or formerly vulnerable people who need help transitioning into housing.


The proposals are part of an effort to bolster support for residents and revitalize the capital, West Virginia, the state that leads all others in opioid overdoses per capita. The issues of substance abuse, mental health and homelessness often go hand in hand.

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