The average renter in OH earns $13.32 an hour, almost $2 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit. If a worker held 2.5 full-time jobs, they would make $25.70 an hour - that's more than the national housing wage, yet still not enough for Hawaii's steep real estate market. A new study released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition will only add more urgency to those discussions.
A minimum-wage worker would have to put in lots of overtime to be able to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country. When the city's minimum salary increases to $15 next year, workers will need 3.2 jobs. Almost 11 million extremely low-income families pay more than half their incomes on rent. Honolulu is number four, and the Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut area is number five.
"While the housing market may have recovered for many, we are nonetheless experiencing an affordable housing crisis, especially for very low-income families", Sen. Their "housing wage" is an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to pay fair market rent without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs. In Seattle, the minimum wage now ranges from $11.50 to $15 an hour depending on the size of the employer and benefits offered. Now that number is well over 7,000. Numerous jobs are in the service sector. "And that's the real tragedy in this". The state's minimum wage increased to $10.10 an hour this year. 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.
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There are several things exacerbating the affordability issue on a national level, according to the coalition's researchers. At the same time, new rental construction has tilted toward the luxury market because of increasingly high development costs, the report said.
The hourly wage the NLIHC uses throughout the report is called a "housing wage".
To make matters worse, the nation's low-income jobs are the ones growing the fastest.
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The report's authors adhere to the standard that no household should spend more than 30 percent of its gross income on housing costs, and they assume that each household would be paid for 40-hour workweeks for 52 weeks a year. The low-income professions poised for dramatic growth include home health aides, waiters and waitresses and janitors.
Housing advocates aren't optimistic that the situation will improve anytime soon.
"This is a crisis that's not only affecting the most impoverished people", said Daniel Cooperman, program director for Bay Area Community Services, "but it's folks that have lived generation after generation in this area and are now being displaced".
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