Affordable Housing for Minimum Wage Workers Doesn’t Exist – Curbed

EVA Issues in the News

Jeff Andrews of Curbed discusses the housing crisis in the United States in this Curbed article originally published on June 18, 2019. Andrews details a report published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “Out of Reach,” that states in 99% of counties in the United States, a modest one-bedroom rental is not affordable. Read the following excerpt and click through to the full article to learn more.


The affordable housing crisis for low-income workers in the United States was put in stark terms by the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) annual Out of Reach report on Tuesday.

According to the report, fair market rent for one-bedroom rentals in 99 percent of counties in the U.S. are not affordable—with affordable defined as 30 percent or less of a renter’s income—for a full-time minimum wage worker; there are currently 1.8 million people making minimum wage or less. While the federal minimum wage has remained stuck at $7.25 since the aftermath of the financial crisis, rents have risen at a steady clip between 2.5 and 4 percent since 2012, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Affordable Housing Needs - 2019 hours at minimum wage needed to afford one bedroom rental.

On the national level, affordable rent for someone living on Social Security income—roughly 8 million people—would be just $231 per month. For someone living on minimum wage it’s $377, and for someone making the average renter wage, it’s $913. These amounts are all lower than the national average fair market rent for a one-bedroom—$970.

With Americans feeling the pinch across the country, housing has become a national issue that’s picking up steam among 2020 presidential candidates. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker,and Kamala Harris have all released housing plans, and NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel believes the report shows that the federal government needs to act.

“We now have a tremendous opportunity to implement federal housing policy solutions to fund affordable housing programs at the scale necessary,” Yentel said in a statement about the report. “We must use tools like Out of Reach to build the political will.”

In the report, the NLIHC calls for increased funding to a handful of federal programs—the Housing Trust Fund, the Housing Choice Voucher program, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. It also calls for a renters tax credit worth the difference between 30 percent of a renter’s income and what they pay in rent. The renters tax credit is a staple of Booker and Harris’s housing plans.

Read the full article at Curbed.

Read the full Out of Reach report on the NLIHC website.


Issues in the News highlights news items focusing on key issues for poor and low-income families, from fair work and access to health care to family economic security, criminal justice reform, voting rights, and more.

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