In order to afford a modest, two- bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in Virginia, renters need to earn $22.44 per hour. This is Virginia’s 2016 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today. The report, Out of Reach 2016, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC- based research and advocacy organization, and the Virginia Housing Alliance.
Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value.
Sim Wimbush, Executive Director for the Virginia Housing Alliance, stated that, “This report is instrumental in helping us all to realize that affordable housing is not just a concern for people with low- income, but rather for anyone who is facing the prospect of increasing rental housing costs and stagnant wages.”
The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour without an increase since 2009, generating debate and calls to raise the wage both at the state and federal level. In no state, even those where the minimum wage has been set above the federal standard, can a minimum wage renter working a 40 hour work week afford a one- bedroom rental unit at the Fair Market Rent. Working at the minimum wage of $7.25 in Virginia, a family must have 3.1 wage earners working full- time, or one full- time earner working 116 hours per week, to afford a modest two- bedroom apartment.
The typical renter in Virginia earns $16.45 per hour, which is $5.99 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.
“The Out of Reach data reflect a grim reality across the nation. There is no place in the United States where a minimum wage worker can afford a two- bedroom apartment,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “We as a nation must respond by investing in affordable housing for the lowest income households in America. The new national Housing Trust Fund is a critical solution, but it must be significantly expanded to address the need.”
For additional information, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor.