Minimum wage doesn't cover the rent anywhere in the US
15 June, 2018, 05:41 | Author: Brooke Harris
Let's look at the math: If a worker holds two full-time minimum wage jobs, they'd be earning $14.50 an hour total - still under the $17.90 needed to afford rent and have 70% of your income left over for non-housing related expenses. But this process, known as filtering, does not produce enough affordable rental homes to serve extremely low income renters.
Last year, New Orleanians needed to earn $18.54 an hour, the most in the state, to rent a two-bedroom apartment. But, if all you want to do is work, it'll take 143 hours per week at minimum wage.
Today the National Low Income Housing Coalition released Out of Reach 2018, its latest annual report on housing costs, and well they're bad. And in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area, almost five dollars an hour more is needed than the state figure, at $33.46 ($69,600 a year).
The disparity is starkest in major metropolitan areas. A worker would need income from two jobs at Washington's minimum wage of $11.50 (the highest of all five states) to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
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"The housing crisis is growing, especially for the lowest-income workers, " said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Luckily, the average wage of a renter in Cuyahoga County is $15.38, further promoting Cleveland as " a very affordable, decent place to live". The eight failing common means of employment like food preparation ($9.40), retail salesperson ($10.41), cashiers ($9.33), laborers and freight movers ($12.66), waiters ($9.45), office clerks ($14.42), janitors ($11.59) and stock clerks ($11.65) fall below what is necessary for someone to afford a modest two bedroom apartment. For someone in need of a two-bedroom, like a single parent with a child, that jumps up to 93 hours per week.
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. The average wage is $24 per hour. Over the past decade, construction of new rental units has been geared toward the high end of the market.
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. For example, this week corporations including Starbucks and Amazon successfully lobbied to have the city of Seattle repeal a corporate, $275-per-employee head tax that would have raised about $50 million dollars for services addressing homelessness and providing affordable housing.
"In America today, almost 11 million families pay more than half of their limited incomes toward rent and utilities", Sanders writes.
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