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

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A new study published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that OH workers would need to make nearly double the minimum wage to rent a two-bedroom apartment.

As CityLab's analysis of the report notes, "NLIHC estimates that the average renter's hourly wage in the United States is $16.88".

A new national study says Honolulu residents must earn at least $39.06 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent without spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

The NLIHC found U.S. workers need to earn $22.10 an hour to afford a "modest" two-bedroom rental. A worker would need to have 1.6 full-time jobs at minimum wage to afford housing.

The problem? Even the lowest amount is higher than the local minimum wage.

Even the $15 living wage championed by Democrats would not make a dent in the vast majority of states.

"This new national report confirms what we all know: Hawai'i is facing the worst affordable housing crisis in the country", said Gavin Thornton, co-director of the Hawai'i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.

City officials have been considering the so-called Smart Housing Mix - a policy that would require developers to reserve some apartments in large complexes for low-income residents - for almost two years but have not finalized those plans. But that's still almost double the Arkansas minimum wage of $8.50. This year's findings demonstrate how far out of reach modestly priced housing is for the growing low-wage work force, despite recent wage growth, and for other vulnerable populations across the country. The national housing wage is $22.10 for a two-bedroom and $17.90 for a one-bedroom rental.

It's not just the Bay Area where rents are out of reach for low-income earners. Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a press release that low wage workers often have to choose between paying for rent, health care, childcare, and other basic necessities.

In Arkansas, for example, you only need to earn a little over $13 for a typical two-bedroom apartment.

But opting for a one-bedroom apartment may not help.

The most expensive county in the state is Honolulu, where the "housing wage" is $39.06 per hour. The housing wage for a one-bedroom apartment there is $14.64.

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. Eric Thomas will have more on this study starting at 4 p.m. on ABC7 News. 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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