Renters can’t afford a one-bedroom apartment working for minimum wage in D.C., study finds

The National Low Income Housing Coalition

There are 168 hours in a week. If you account for seven hours of sleep a day, there are only 119 hours available in seven days. In order to afford a one-bedroom rental in D.C., you would have to work more than 75 percent of those waking hours, according to a new study. 

The Out of Reach study run by the National Low Income Housing Coalition analyzed national data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that was estimated using data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. 

The study found the average D.C. renter earns $27.75 per hour but still falls $100 short of affording HUD’s fair market rent for a one-bedroom in the District.. The average one-bedroom apartment costs $1,561 a month. If the renter makes minimum wage in the District, $13.25 per hour, they would have to work 91 hours a week to afford rent for a modest one-bedroom unit, according to the study.  

On average a minimum-wage earner in a state without a  wage higher  than the federal minimum, $7.25, would have to work or 99 hours for a one bedroom rental. The study was funded by  J.P.Morgan Chase and Co. 

A minimum-wage worker can only afford a two-bedroom rental based on a 40-hour work week in 22 counties, out of more than 3,000, according to the study. 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition recommended increasing federal funding for voucher programs that compensate for the amount low-income renters cannot pay for housing. The organization suggested investment in building more affordable housing. Cuts to funding suggested by the Trump administration are the wrong move, according to the Coalition. 

“For the limited number of families that receive federal housing assistance, recent proposals by the administration threaten to undermine their housing stability,” the report said. 

In a preface for the report, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said families in a wealthy country such as the United States should have access to affordable housing and the government should invest in more programs to make that possible. 

“We have the resources to solve the affordable housing crisis. We have the solutions that work,” Sanders wrote. “What we need is the will to do what is right.” 

Issues |Housing

Region |Washington DC

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