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Average worker can't afford 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in US, report says
15 June 2018, 05:40 | Kelvin Horton
Maui Renters Need to Work 123 Hours a Week to Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment
The state also has the fifth largest gap between the average hourly wage renters make, $12.85, and housing wage.
Today the National Low Income Housing Coalition released Out of Reach 2018, its latest annual report on housing costs, and well they're terrible.
But even with recent wage growth for the lowest-paid workers, there is still nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time minimum-wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 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. The National Low Income Housing Coalition used that number to calculate the hourly wage a household must earn to afford a home while spending 30 percent or less of their income on rent.
Affordability is based on the federal standard that no more than 30 percent of a household's gross income should be spent on rent and utilities.
The cheapest housing in the USA can be found in Arkansas, where the minimum wage is $8.50 an hour.
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.
Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing in the country.
Meanwhile, Hawai'i's minimum wage is set at $10.10 per hour, with no future increases scheduled. The minimum wage in Redwood City, though it will soon increase, is $11. For a one-bedroom apartment, the NLIHC's report found you'd have to bring in $17.90 an hour. While the rental market added more than 6.7 million housing units between 2005 and 2015, the number of units renting for less than $800 dropped by more than 260,000, according to the report.
According to the study, low-wage work is expected to grow over the next 10 years, but seven of the ten occupations are expected to provide a median wage that is lower than the housing wage. Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has proposed raising rent for those getting housing subsidies. Maui County's housing wage was calculated to be $31.13. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wrote in the report's preface.
Carson said the proposal would help address rising costs of providing housing assistance, which he said now helps only one in four families who qualify. 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.
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