You can’t make enough on minimum wage to put a roof over your head according to a report this week from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. President Sheila Crowley says the group stacks up the pay of the working poor against the cost of a home in their hometown. She says they calculate a variable the group calls the “housing wage,” the amount you’d have to make per hour at a fulltime job to pay rent on a two-bedroom house or apartment. In Iowa, the two-bedroom fair-market “housing wage” is nine-dollars-and-96-cents an hour, whereas federal minimum wage is five-15 an hour. Crowley says the local rent cost for those low-income families is pegged for Iowa as a whole at 518-dollars a month for a two-bedroom place. The minimum income you’d need to rent that is 20-thousand-712-dollars a year, so workers who earn just seven or eight dollars an hour are “out of their league” in being able to afford housing. Iowa’s actually the most affordable state in the Midwest region. Nationally, she says, Nebraska and Iowa are both in the bottom third of the unaffordable ranking, the northeast and West Coast the most expensive. The group’s annual “Out of Reach” report concludes the gap between local rents and minimum wage grew larger this year than ever before.
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