Rent is rising, wages are not

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The National Low Income Housing Coalition, which wrote the report, calculates an annual "housing wage" for each state based on how much a full-time worker would have to make per hour to afford a two-bedroom home at fair market value without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Workers earning minimum wage would have to work 74 hours per week throughout the year to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

The report, "Out of Reach", said the 2018 national housing wage is $22.10 ($45,986 annually) for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $17.90 ($37,232 annually) for a modest one-bedroom rental home. FMR Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $619, which requires 57 hours of work per week at the minimum wage of $8.30, and the numbers are even higher in cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Then, they assign a "housing wage" to various counties or states - the amount a renter must earn hourly in order to meet that standard. The report reveals that 41 percent of Cuyahoga County residents are renters, and the housing wage needed is less than the state's average at $15.10. The hourly wage necessary to afford a two-bedroom unit in Hawaii County is $25.42.

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.

The Aloha State also had the biggest shortfall between that target wage and the wage paid to the average renter.

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.

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

The National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group, published a new report Wednesday highlighting the disparities between incomes and rents nationwide. The housing wage for a one-bedroom apartment there is $14.64.

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. For someone in need of a two-bedroom, like a single parent with a child, that jumps up to 93 hours per week. The NLICH calculated that a one-bedroom apartment would take 99 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies (2017), the number of homes renting for $2,000 or more per month increased by 97% between 2005 and 2015 with the new development of high-end apartments and rising rents of existing apartments.

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

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