As many others mentioned, I would look into the CDA programs! I graduated from one last year and have been working as a CDA since September. This is my fourth year applying to SLP programs and after being waitlisted or rejected from every program in the past I was finally accepted to UofA. I think having the CDA experience and stronger connections with SLPs who wrote supportive letters of recommendation played a huge part in finally getting accepted into a program.
I also wouldn't feel bad about working a minimum wage job with a degree! You can also spend your time volunteering in different settings while working a job that isn't quite relevant (ex. audiology clinics, aphasia centres, schools, private practices/home clinics, hospitals/treatment centres, etc.).
I personally don't have any research experience but I know that is something that can make your application stand out. In the past, I tried to connect with my old professors to volunteer in labs or during research projects (unfortunately the opportunity fell through for me but it's worth a shot!)
Wishing you the best!!