Affordable Apartments 'Out of Reach' For Minimum-Wage Earners



An affordable housing nonprofit says an Idahoan making minimum wage has to work a minimum of 71 hours before he or she can afford a two-bedroom Gem State apartment.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition advocates for socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have access to affordable and decent homes. Each year, the coalition publishes its "Out of Reach" report, detailing comparisons of wages and rents in every county, metro area and state in the United States.

As an example, Idaho's so-called "fair market rent" for a two-bedroom apartment is $665. According to the coalition, to afford the rent and utilities, a household must earn $2,218 monthly or $26,615 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, the level of income translates into a housing wage of $12.80. With the minimum wage in Idaho standing at $7.25, a minimum-wage earner must work 71 hours per week to afford the fair market rent.

In Idaho, the estimated average wage for a renter, according to coalition, is $10.48. In order to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 49 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.2 workers earning the average renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom unit affordable.