Rent is rising, wages are not

Rent is rising, wages are not

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.

The average renter in Hawai'i earns $16.16 per hour, or $19.98 less than the "housing wage".

Using the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and national and statewide data on rental prices, researchers found that the average worker would have to put in 122 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the national fair market rent, an estimate the government updates every year, usually based on the 40th percentile of the gross rent of a given area.

Here in Washington, workers need to make $19* an hour to afford a studio apartment, $22 for a one-bedroom, $27 for a two-bedroom, and $39 for a three-bedroom. Though the state recently raised its minimum wage to $10.10, households still need to earn $36.13 per hour to afford that 2-bedroom home.

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

In California, the gap is even greater.

"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.

Employees in the Commonwealth must make $23.29 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to the study.

Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing in the country. "But even in places where advocates have successfully achieved a minimum wage of upwards of $15 an hour, housing is still out of reach". 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. To afford a two-bedroom apartment, you'd need to make more than $60 an hour. That means spending no more than 30% of their income on housing costs - the typical rule of thumb when budgeting for housing.

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

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. As it stands, only 1 in 4 households eligible for federal rent assistance gets any help, the report said. These programs have been chronically underfunded, and the Trump administration has proposed raising the rents of these affordable housing options. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wrote in the report's preface.

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