Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

No one earning minimum wage can afford a modest apartment

No one earning minimum wage can afford a modest apartment

In Seattle, that rent jumps to $1,529 and the number of hours needed to work to afford that one bedroom at minimum wage jumps to 102 per week.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition released its 2018 "Out of Reach" report; it shows that the average Utah renter is paying 41% of their gross income on housing.

The report found that in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, renters need to earn a wage of $22.10 per hour.

Minimum wage doesn't cover the cost of rent anywhere in the United States - not Hawaii, not Arkansas, not anywhere.

Vermont has a housing wage of $22.40 - the 13th highest in the country.

In California, the gap is even greater. In San Francisco, for example, a renter would have to make $60.02.

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"It's a national problem", said Andrew Aurand, vice president of research for the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The average fair market rent in Arkansas is $720 and the minimum wage is $8.50, the report notes. "Rather than threatening the housing stability of families struggling to keep roofs over their heads, Congress must invest in expanding housing solutions that provide stable homes for the lowest income people in our country", she said.

In Hawaii, the state with the most expensive housing, one would have to make $36.13 - about $75,000 a year - to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment. To get that annual income based on a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks a year, you need to earn $23.93 an hour. Six-figure salaries considered low income in some Bay Area countiesThat's according to a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an affordable housing advocacy group. The city is one of many now buckling under rising housing costs, Seattle's having been propelled in part by the same corporations that fought against the tax.

"In America today, almost 11 million families pay more than half of their limited incomes toward rent and utilities", Sanders writes. To define "affordability", it uses the industry standard of spending no more than 30 percent of income on rent.

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. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wrote in the report's preface.

But rather than cutting assistance, the report says, the government should continue to invest in housing programs that help the lowest-income households. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently proposed tripling rent for the poorest households and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements on those receiving rent subsidies.

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