New Report from National Low Income Housing Coalition Shows that High Cost of Rental Housing in the U.S. is Out of Reach for Millions

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has announced the release of Out of Reach 2017: The High Cost of Housing. This report reveals that on average a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn $21.21 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment and $17.14 to afford a one-bedroom apartment. The report indicates that housing costs are "out of reach" for both for the average renter and for millions of low-wage workers, seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and other low-income households.

Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage – the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs – for every state, county, and metropolitan area in the country. The average hourly wage of renters in the U.S. is $16.38, $4.83 lower than the two-bedroom Housing Wage and nearly $1 lower than for the one-bedroom Housing Wage.

In no state, even those where the minimum wage has been set above the federal level, can a minimum wage renter working a 40-hour work week afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit. A worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 117 hours per week for 52 weeks of the year (or nearly 3 full-time jobs) to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home and 94.5 hours per week (2.4 full time jobs) to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) wrote the preface for this year’s report and was a guest speaker on a call to announce the launch of the report to the press.

The disparity between the Housing Wage needed to afford a rental home and workers’ wages results in a shortage of 7.4 million rental homes nationwide that are affordable and available to extremely low income households, underscoring the need for greater investments in affordable housing solutions.

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