BALTIMORE (WJZ) — What if you worked full-time, one or even two jobs, and still couldn’t earn enough money to be above the federal poverty level?

According to a study by the United Way, that’s the case for one out of three people living in the state of Maryland.

“For me, it was normal to have a job where I did not have a sick day. I could get fired for taking too many days off because I was sick or my daughter was sick,” author Stephanie Land said.

Land chronicled the years she spent as a single mom with a small child in her New York Times Best Selling book, “Maid.”

Often homeless, without adequate food or medical or child care, she barely survived working as a maid.

“There were definitely times that I referred to as a crushing sense of hopelessness,” Land said. “Every day felt horrible.”

In Baltimore, Victoria knows that feeling. You work long, hard hours but still don’t know if you can pay your bills. So does Alice, who is among the third of Marylanders earning enough to be just above the poverty line, but still below the State’s standard of living, unable to afford the basics.

For single parents, it often starts with childcare.

“The way the childcare system is set up is you have to have a job first before you can obtain a childcare grant,” Land said.

No job, no childcare. No childcare, no job. That catch will be discussed every Thursday, starting at noon during a virtual forum sponsored by “Women United.”

Land will join the discussion and the search for solutions during the virtual forum.

You can register for the forum by clicking here.

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