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Out of Reach

In May 2015 the National Low Income Housing Coalition released its annual Out of Reach report, which calculates the hourly wage a household needs to earn to afford a modest market rate apartment.

The 2015 report finds that the hourly wage needed to afford a two bedroom apartment is $19.35/hour, which is more than 2.5 times the current minimum wage.

While housing prices in Texas fare slightly better than the national average, the report’s findings for Texas are still concerning. Working 40 hours a week, in Texas you still need to earn $16.62/hour to be able to afford a modest two bedroom apartment (which costs about $864/month).

In order to afford the rising cost of rent, Texas families earning less than $16.62/hour often have to do at least one of the following:
1. Work more than 40 hours per week. The study finds that minimum wage workers in Texas need to work 73 hours/week to afford a one bedroom apartment and a whopping 92 hours/week to afford a two bedroom apartment.
2. Spend more than they can reasonably afford on rent. This often means cutting back on other necessities such as food, transportation or medical care.

The report’s findings clearly indicate the ongoing need for affordable housing both in Texas and throughout the United States. In the words of Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who wrote the Preface to the 2015 Out of Reach report, “There simply isn’t enough reasonably priced, decently maintained housing to meet the demand.”

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