Lack of affordability is the overarching theme of this report which contains grim news for lower-income renters. I guess that is to be expected of a report titled "Out of Reach". Here are some of the key findings:
- There is no county in the United States in which a full-time minimum wage worker can afford even a one-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent (FMR).
- At the federal minimum wage of $7.25, a household would have to work 102 hours each week to afford the nation's average FMR for a two-bedroom home.
- The two-bedroom Housing Wage (the hourly wage a worker must earn to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom home) topped $20.00 in 10 states: HI, DC, CA, MD, NJ, NY, MA, CT, AK and FL.
- In Minnesota:
- Monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for an individual are $674. If SSI represents an individual's sole source of income, $202 in monthly rent is affordable, while the FMR for a one-bedroom is $658.
- The Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $806. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $2,687 monthly or $32,247 annually.
The income/rent mismatch may lead many to think of this as an a wage problem - and it is. Yet no one is predicting high rates of employment any time soon and even in good economic times, housing affordability is a problem for lower income households. The solution to this problem is a housing policy that supports those at the bottom of the income spectrum.
About the National Low Income Housing Coalition:
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is a membership organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.