Rents pricing out minimum-wage workers across the US, report says

Don Ryan | AP  Apartments for rent are shown in Portland Oregon

And a one-bedroom is available to those low-wage workers in only 22 counties in five states: Colorado, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. That's considered the "housing wage", at which renters can afford to live somewhat comfortably.

Even the $15 hourly wage touted by labor activists would not be enough to make housing affordable in the overwhelming majority of states, the coalition found. The average renter in OH earns $13.32 an hour, almost $2 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit.

Hawaii's minimum wage is $10.10 per hour. The national "housing wage" for a two-bedroom is $22.50. At the same time, homes renting for less than $800 per month declined by two percent.

Workers earning minimum wage would have to work 74 hours per week throughout the year to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

According to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition released Wednesday, there is nowhere in the US that someone working full-time at a minimum wage job could afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment.

This year, New Orleans' housing wage for a two-bedroom unit was one of the highest in Louisiana, second only to Vernon Parish.

Today the National Low Income Housing Coalition released Out of Reach 2018, its latest annual report on housing costs, and well they're very bad. "The rents are far out of reach from what the average renter is earning".

The findings are based on the standard budgeting concept of not spending more than 30 percent of one's income on housing. That translates into the largest shortfall between the average renter wage and "housing wage" in the nation.

The report estimates that renters nationally make an average of $16.88 an hour. Even at those wages, it would take 57 hours a week to afford the statewide rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wrote in the report's preface.

Out of the top 10 jobs with the highest projected growth-including medical assistants and home health aides-the median wages for seven of the jobs fall below the threshold needed to afford a one or two-bedroom.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies (2017), the number of homes renting for $2,000 or more per month increased by 97% between 2005 and 2015 with the new development of high-end apartments and rising rents of existing apartments. "The administration's cruel and shortsighted proposals to cut housing benefits would add to the struggles of millions". As Cleveland continues to dig out of the housing crisis, it's important not just to look at the numbers from reports like the one from The National Low Income Housing Coalition, but also analyze and challenge the reasons why the numbers are what they are. But different political decisions could begin to solve the problem of affordable housing.

"The housing crisis has reached historic heights, most negatively impacting the lowest income renters", said Diane Yentel, the coalition's CEO".



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