Average worker can't afford 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in U.S., report says


The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in OH released a report today revealing that most OH jobs don't pay enough to cover the cost of rent.

The annual Out of Reach report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition analyzed every county in the US and found that there isn't anywhere that someone working a minimum wage job, 40 hours a week, can afford a two-bedroom.

"This new national report confirms what we all know: Hawai'i is facing the worst affordable housing crisis in the country", said Gavin Thornton, co-director of the Hawai'i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice. To afford a two-bedroom apartment, you'd need to make more than $60 an hour. The least expensive is Hawai'i County, at $25.42 per hour. Colorado's minimum wage is $10.20. That will increase to $13.50 by 2020. In Seattle, the minimum wage now ranges from $11.50 to $15 an hour depending on the size of the employer and benefits offered.

The county's "housing wage", or the amount you'd need to make per hour to spend no more than 30% of your income on rent, is $38.73 an hour. In Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing, the $8.50-an-hour minimum wage isn't enough to afford a two-bedroom.

Downsizing to a one-bedroom apartment will only help so much. That translates into the largest shortfall between the average renter wage and "housing wage" in the nation. Still, the results are bleak.

The mean Washington renter makes $19 an hour, according to the report. 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. Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a press release that low wage workers often have to choose between paying for rent, health care, childcare, and other basic necessities.

The report recommends federal investments in programs like public housing, vouchers, and rental assistance.

In a preface to the report, Senator Bernie Sanders writes that "wages have been stagnant for decades, while the cost of housing keeps going up".

"In America today, almost 11 million families pay more than half of their limited incomes toward rent and utilities", Sanders writes.

And that trend looks unlikely to reverse any time soon. It's an annual report to document the gap between wages and the cost of rental housing across the United States.

Minimum-wage workers in Hawaii would need to work 109 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment and 143 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom rental, the report found. The three jobs expected to both grow and pay enough to live-general operations managers, software developers, and registered nurses-"require advanced degrees or significant experience".

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has tried cutting federal housing subsidies for the lowest-income Americans. It's hard to praise Cleveland for its affordability when there are an average of 12 evictions every single day and an enormous waiting list for housing vouchers through CMHA.