Many communities across the U.S. are reporting rents beyond the reach of many renters, especially those with the lowest incomes. In Pittsburgh, Essential Public Radio reports that two out of three low income Pennsylvania residents have trouble finding rental housing they can afford. Rents in New Jersey, as we read in this article, are the third highest in the nation. In Texas, we read that minimum wage earners must work 88 hours per week just to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment and utilities. In Kanabec County, Minnesota, even the average worker must work up to 70 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen many reports recently from California, the second most expensive state in the country for renters. In Sacramento, Marin County and Santa Barbara, even as the slow housing and economic recovery has kept home prices relatively low, high rents and the elimination of state redevelopment agencies mean renters have few good choices.
In the Hartford Courant, we read about some of the people whose wages can’t cut it when it comes to making the rent: recent college graduates. Low-wage, entry-level jobs combine with sky-high rents and growing student loan payments to make the rental market impossible for young workers.
Recent college graduates often have the option of living with their parents, but for others, resources like public housing are essential. The housing that low income workers, elderly people and people with disabilities rely on is falling into disrepair in many communities across the country as federal funding for maintenance remains scarce. In Chattanooga, public housing residents planned to attend a Chattanooga Housing Authority meeting in large numbers in an attempt to protect their homes from demolition and their households from displacement. The housing authority promised that no senior housing would be destroyed, but residents are likely to remain worried when they consider just how tough it is to afford the rent elsewhere.