I am late to post on an important study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach 2021, which is embedded at the end of this post. However, it appears to have gone under the radar when it first appeared last month; CNN was one of the few major US outlets to write up the damning report. The Guardian helped correct this lapse by posting on the report yesterday, which is how I cam across it. Among other things, it finds that a minimum wage worker can’t afford a one-bedroom rental in any county in the US.
Needless to say, before gentrification, many US cities has housing alternatives for low wage workers or those who’d had a bad run of luck. They were called “flophouses” in the Depression and later “single room occupancy hotels” in New York City: a not large room with a bed, and communal toilets and showers. Now their options are things like couch surfing, living in their car (assuming they have one), being a roommate (often in an overcrowded unit), going to a shelter, sleeping on the street, or going into debt. And even seeming middle class workers can’t make ends meet due to housing costs:
The linchpin to the analysis is that HUD sees 30% as a realistic maximum for what a full time worker should pay for rental housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition using that to derive a National Housing Wage: