Average worker can't afford 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in US, report says

Average worker can't afford 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in US, report says

Workers at the Community Services Agency, which provides housing, food and healthcare assistance to families in need, are seeing first-hand how the imbalance between wages and rent prices is impacting the Bay Area.

New to this year's report is a breakdown of costs by ZIP code. Hawaii is No. 1 on the Out of Reach ranking of states and you should not even entertain the idea of moving there if you want to earn minimum wage and pay for your own place.

Nationally, as the demand for rental housing has increased in the past decade, most rental housing being built is "geared largely toward the high end of the market, due to increasingly high development costs", according to the report.

Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing in the country. It shows residents would need to earn at least $27 an hour to live in the code area that includes the Lower Garden District, much of the Central Business District and part of the Garden District, for example, while they'd need about $19.42 hourly to live in the ZIP code that includes the Lower 9th Ward, Holy Cross, Bywater and parts of Marigny and the Upper 9th Ward. 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 nation's costliest housing is in Hawaii, where one would need to earn $36.13, or roughly $75,000 a year, to be able to rent a modest two-bedroom.

On average, workers still need to earn $17.90 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. But different political decisions could begin to solve the problem of affordable housing. This is also known as the "housing wage".


It's even worse in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, where workers need to net $60 an hour, or about $125,000. And a one-bedroom is available to those low-wage workers in only 22 counties in five states: Colorado, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington.

In Ohio, the fair market rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $793.

But rather than cutting assistance, the report says, the government should continue to invest in housing programs that help the lowest-income households.

Financial experts advise individuals should not spend more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs.

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. Bernie Sanders wrote in the report's preface. "This is America. We have the resources to solve the affordable housing crisis". Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently proposed tripling rent for the poorest households and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements on those receiving rent subsidies.

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