No one earning minimum wage can afford a modest apartment

No one earning minimum wage can afford a modest apartment

Despite state and city minimum wage increases, nowhere in the United States can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing in the country.

In no state in the country can a worker earning that state's minimum wage afford a two-bedroom rental home, and in only 22 out of over 3,000 counties surveyed could a minimum wage worker afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

The report, released this week, shows that housing costs continue to outpace wages for low-income renters.

Even the $15 living wage championed by Democrats would not make a dent in the vast majority of states.

The most expensive county in the state is Honolulu, where the "housing wage" is $39.06 per hour. That's over $10 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays. "We need to make sure government funding for housing is targeted to those among us who need help the most".

The disparity is starkest in major metropolitan areas.


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 housing crisis is growing, especially for the lowest-income workers", Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, told The Washington Post.

The housing wage for a one-bedroom apartment in Washington is $21.65.

The only places with a higher housing wage than MA are Maryland, New York, California, Washington D.C. and Hawaii. In Seattle, a worker making the mean wage would have to put in 49 hours for a one-bedroom and 60 hours for a two-bedroom. In the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area, that rises to $27.33. That's based on the common budgeting standard of spending a maximum of 30 percent of income on housing. 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 demand for rental housing grew significantly during the past decade as a result of demographic shifts and the effects of the Great Recession".

Two condos for sale by the Champlain Housing Trust in the Colchester Ethan Allen complex, shown on the trust's website as examples of affordable housing available in VT. The number of homes renting for $2,000 or more per month almost doubled between 2005 and 2015.

"We need innovative solutions, like the Smart Housing Mix policy, so that we're all pitching in to ensure everyone in New Orleans can stay and thrive", said Cashuana Hill, the Fair Housing Action Center's executive director. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in the report. The worker would have to take on another, part-time, minimum-wage job to make up the difference. The lowest housing wage was $13.40 in multiple rural counties, including Baca, Conejos, Dolores, Kit Carson, Prowers, Rio Grande, Saguache, Washington and Yuma. Even now, only one in four households eligible for federal rent assistance gets it.

Anyone making that amount would have to work triple shifts of 119 hours a week for a 2-bedroom apartment.

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