More than half of Americans believe that if someone is employed in a steady, full-time job, they will earn enough income to afford a decent and safe place to live, according to the 2016 ReThink: Why Housing Matters Survey. However, the facts paint a very different picture.
The average hourly cost to rent a two bedroom apartment in the US = $20.30
The average hourly wage in the US = $15.42
The federal minimum hourly wage in the US = $7.25
No, your math skills aren’t deceiving you; someone who works at the federal minimum wage would need to work a minimum of 90 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental at the average Fair Market Rent, and 112 hours per week for a two-bedroom.
According to the 2016 National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) Out of Reach report, the state of Washington has the tenth highest housing wage required to afford a two-bedroom apartment, demanding a whopping $23.13/hour, nearly three dollars higher than the national average. While affordable housing is understandably not the only component contributing to homelessness, it plays a much more significant role than many realize, as was confirmed in the 2016 Homeless Needs Assessment by the City of Seattle. To attain self-sufficiency and a permanent home, most people (68 percent) noted that they would need rental assistance in some form. Unfortunately, most people who make up the homeless population in Seattle and across the country do not have control over the key factors that will help them become self-sufficient.