We Know the Solutions. It’s Time to Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis.

About the project

17th November 2020

America is experiencing a housing affordability crisis. Even before the pandemic, in no state, metropolitan area, or county in the U.S. could a worker earning the federal or prevailing state or local minimum wages and working a standard 40-hour work week afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, and in fewer than 5% of counties could they afford a one-bedroom rental. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) found that the 2020 national “Housing Wage” (the average hourly wage full-time workers must earn to afford a rental home at HUD’s fair market rent without spending more than 30% of their incomes) is $23.96 per hour for a modest two-bedroom rental home, and $19.56 per hour for a modest one-bedroom rental. The average minimum wage worker must work 97 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom rental or 79 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental at the average fair market rent. Since 1989, NLIHC’s Out of Reach report has called attention to this gulf between actual wages and what people need to earn to afford their rent, but wage is not the only factor. NLIHC’s The Gap report documents a systemic shortage of affordable housing, showing that nationally, just 36 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.

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