Affordable housing still Out of Reach in 2014
Each March, we pour over the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) Out of Reach report, a side-by-side comparison of hourly wages and rents in the United States. In this, its 25th anniversary report, Out of Reach 2014 once again shows the growing gap between the cost of rental housing in the U.S. and the ability of families to pay for it.
The report states that in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, without spending more than 30% of one’s income on housing costs, a family in this country needs to earn $18.79 per hour. That’s 2.6 times the federal minimum wage of $7.25. And though the nationwide mean renter wage is $14.64, that wage would need to rise by $4.00 an hour in order to afford the two-bedroom unit.
While we urge you to read the full report, here are a few national findings that we think are especially interesting:
• The Fair Market Rent (FMR) – the 40th percentile of gross rents for typical, non-substandard rental units – for a two-bedroom rental unit in the U.S. is $984.
• In no state can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom rental unit at FMR.
• 40 million households nationwide – or 35% – are renters. That’s a 1.1 million increase over the previous year.
• One in four renter households is extremely low income (ELI).
• 75% of ELI renters spend over 50% of their income on housing costs, leaving very little money to meet other basic needs.
What does the report tell us about Florida?
In our state, the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,008 (a $13 increase over last year). In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of their income on housing, a Florida household must earn $40,335 annually. This translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $19.39.
A minimum wage worker in Florida, earning $7.93 per hour, must work 98 hours per week, 52 weeks per year to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment. Or, a household must include 2.4 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the unit affordable.
What about Central Florida?
The report states that the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment in Central Florida is $983, (surprisingly the same as last year). In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of their income on housing, a household must have an hourly wage of $18.90. That requires 2.4 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week, year-round to afford the unit.
Out of Reach consistently demonstrates that large numbers of renters cannot afford the cost of living in the cities and towns where they work – including our own community!
Coalition for the Homeless, with your support, works to help homeless adults and families obtain the education, job skills, life skills, and other services they need to make a living wage and get back to independence!