A Nationwide Crisis in Affordable Housing
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The harsh facts of minimum wage and rental prices across America
According to the Pew Research Center, 30% of America’s workforce earns a near-minimum-wage salary—many of them Solo Moms. Good housing can be extremely difficult to find for a person earning minimum or close to minimum wage. So how do you make ends meet?
Tight rental market
According to a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the growing demand for rentals has made the rental market very competitive. Fewer people can afford to buy houses, so rentals become scarce. This tightening rental market has a major impact on low-income renters. According to Kate Brown, governor of Oregon, one out of four households in her state spends more than half its income on housing costs. In 2013, for every 100 extremely low income renter households, there were only 31 affordable and available rental units.
Although some states fare better than others, in no city in the United States can a minimum-wage worker work less than 50 hours per week and still afford a two-bedroom apartment. The most expensive rentals are in Virginia; California; New York; and Washington, DC. On average, an American worker needs to earn $19.35 per hour to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment. And the wage requirement is even higher in the aforementioned states. This map from a recent study shows just how difficult it can be.
Well, now that we know there’s a problem—what’s the solution? Raising the minimum wage may help, and expanding affordable housing would certainly help. But those solutions take time, and I’m sure that some of you have this difficulty now. What are you doing to ease the burden of expensive rentals? How do you do it? Let me know! Let’s help one another now.
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Julia Liu is the daughter of a Solo Mom and has a degree in professional communication. She is the mom to two sons. She has worked in early-childhood education and was the director of a nonprofit private preschool for many years. You can follow her on Twitter at @notaDNB1.
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