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Affordable rental housing continues to be "out of reach" for minimum wage workers

CHAMPAIGN — As rents continue to rise, wages continue to fall, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The report – Out of Reach 2010 – found that a family in the United States needs to earn $18.44 an hour, or nearly $38,360 a year.

The amount a person working full-time must earn to afford the Fair Market Rent on a two-bedroom unit is known as the Housing Wage, and Out of Reach calculates this wage for every state, metropolitan area, non metropolitan area and county in the country. The report also calculates how many hours someone must work at the minimum and average renter wages in an area to afford typical rents, and provides local wage and income data for comparison purposes.

According to Out of Reach 2010, the national two-bedroom Fair Market Rent (FMR) is a staggering $959 a month. In addition, 74 percent of metro renters live in an area where having two full-time jobs at the minimum wage would still not allow them to afford the two-bedroom FMR.

"Out of Reach 2010 shows once again that prevailing incomes and wages are simply not enough to allow a family to afford a decent home in their community," said Sheila Crowley, President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

This year's data demonstrate that the recession has only worsened an already severe housing crisis.

"The persistence of high rates of unemployment and under-employment is making it ever more difficult for families to secure decent housing. Unfortunately, the situation is not likely to improve any time soon," Center for Economic Policy and Research Co-Director Dean Baker said.

Extensive data for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country are available at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Check out the graph below to see data for Champaign County. Scroll over the "For Rent" signs and exclamation points for further information.

 

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