The signature finding of Out of Reach is the annual Housing Wage - the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a decent two-bedroom rental home at HUD-estimated Fair Market Rent (FMR) while spending no more than 30% of income on housing costs. The Housing Wage allows Out of Reach to capture the gap between wages and rents across the country, and reveals the growing disparity that low income renters face.
In the United States, the 2014 two-bedroom Housing Wage is $18.92. This national average is more than two-and-a-half times the federal minimum wage, and 52% higher than it was in 2000. In no state can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom rental unit at Fair Market Rent.
On the 25th anniversary of Out of Reach, the report continues to demonstrate that large numbers of low income renters cannot find decent, affordable housing. As policymakers consider raising the federal minimum wage and combating income inequality, the shortage of affordable housing must also be addressed. Expanding the supply of affordable rental homes dedicated to the lowest income renters is a critical and fundamental part of any real solution. This is not an unattainable goal. Once funded, the National Housing Trust Fund will build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very low income households. Through the National Housing Trust Fund, we can finally increase access to affordable housing for the lowest income households.
Correction: The two charts in the introduction have been corrected as of 3/26/14. Please refer to the updated introduction and full report.
Althea Arnold, MPP, Research Analyst
Sheila Crowley, Ph.D., MSW, President and CEO
Elina Bravve, MCRP, Research Analyst
Sarah Brundage, Communications Director
Christine Biddlecombe, Research Analyst
National Low Income Housing Coalition