Reporting on the National Low Income Housing Coalition‘s 2012 rankings, Elahe Izadi of DCentric writes that “the DC-metro area is an expensive place to live, but it isn’t the priciest of places.” San Francisco tops the list, followed by the Stamford-Norwalk metro area in Connecticut and Honolulu, Hawaii; the greater Washington area is in the 10th spot.
In order to afford a “a fair market, two-bedroom apartment in DC” ($1,506/month), and thus spend only 30% of his or her income on rent, the renter would need to earn $60,240 annually or $28.96 per hour for a 40-hour week. But as Izadi points out, the median income for DC renters is less than two-thirds of that.
Entitled “Out of Reach 2012,” the NLIHC “demonstrates that a mismatch exists between the cost of living, the availability of rental assistance and the wages people earn day to day across the country.” And the mismatch exists in urban and dual areas alike: “the Housing Wage consistently exceeds the actual wages earned by renters.”
Nationwide, there exists a $4.10/hour gap in the “hourly wage necessary to afford a 2-bedroom apartment and the wage an average American renter actually earns.” Moreover, in order to afford an efficiency at fair market rent, a minimum wage employee must work 75 hours per week; those hours increase to 101 to afford a two-bedroom unit.
So how best can we address this “mismatch” between average income and available housing — particularly in a market whose rates rank among the ten highest across the country?
Learn more about Catalogue’s housing nonprofits right here.
For example, Hope and a Home’s Transitional Housing Program provides eighteen struggling families with housing at one-sixth the current rental rate and prepares them for private market rent. And Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing preserves quality housing for local families who earn less than 60% of the average median income, providing 860 households with quality rental homes.