The annual Out of Reach report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition analyzed every county in the US and found that there isn't anywhere that someone working a minimum wage job, 40 hours a week, can afford a two-bedroom.
The federally mandated minimum wage is set at $7.25, meaning workers would have to work around 122 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, just to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Hawaii is No. 1 on the Out of Reach ranking of states and you should not even entertain the idea of moving there if you want to earn minimum wage and pay for your own place. While the rental market added more than 6.7 million housing units between 2005 and 2015, the number of units renting for less than $800 dropped by more than 260,000, according to the report. 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.
According to the study, low-wage work is expected to grow over the next 10 years, but seven of the ten occupations are expected to provide a median wage that is lower than the housing wage.
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The numbers are the latest distressing signal about the booming city's lack of affordability for people making below a certain amount, especially those trying to survive on minimum wage. 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 city is one of many now buckling under rising housing costs, Seattle's having been propelled in part by the same corporations that fought against the tax.
"The good news about the housing crisis is that we have the data, the solutions and the resources needed to solve it", says Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 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. The national "housing wage" for a two-bedroom is $22.50. That's based on the common budgeting standard of spending a maximum of 30 percent of income on housing. The housing wage for a one-bedroom apartment there is $14.64. Eric Thomas will have more on this study starting at 4 p.m. on ABC7 News. Bernie Sanders wrote in the report's preface.
The authors also express concern that the Trump administration's decision to cut housing subsidies will exacerbate the problem.