Study finds you need to make more than $17 an hour to afford 2-bedroom housing in Spokane

Study finds you need to make more than $17 an hour to afford 2-bedroom housing in Spokane
Kari Shea for Unsplash

A new study paints a discouraging picture of the widening gap between wages and the cost of housing.

Struggling to pay rent? You’re not alone. A new report says you need to make $27.78 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom place in Washington. That’s more than double minimum wage in #WA. In Spokane, you’d need to make $17.02 per hour for that two-bedroom rental. #KXLY pic.twitter.com/Ao1FcXnDDk

— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) June 24, 2019

Renters in Washington need to make $27.78 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom unit, according to a newly released report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Washington is among the states with the largest shortfall between average renter wage and two bedroom housing wage.

The housing wage shared in the report is based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fair market rents, which are the department’s best estimate of what a family can expect to pay for a modest rental home. It’s not representative of what all current renters pay on average. Experts say that people spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered rent burdened.

The report showed that a Spokane worker has to earn at least $17.02 per hour to afford a two-bedroom place without becoming rent burdened. The report placed the average wage in the Spokane area at $13.76 per hour.

In Seattle, someone would have to make $36.52 per hour for a two-bedroom rental.

Spending more on rent means people have less money left for other important things, like childcare, food, and medical expenses.

National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel said this will be a challenge for the foreseeable future.

“It’s garnering the attention of policy makers and more than ever before, we have senators, representatives, presidential candidates who are putting forward bold, ambitious solutions to the housing crisis,” Yentel said.

Spokane groups and the city council have been working to address access to affordable housing for years. In January, the Spokane City Council approved a new set of ordinances they hope will create for affordable housing. Catholic Charities Eastern Washington has also had success building apartments for previously homeless individuals.

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