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August 7, 2022 Through August 13, 2022

Report Shows Growing Gap Between Rent and Wages

By Gongwer Staff
Posted: August 8, 2022 10:39 AM

Of the 10 most popular occupations in Ohio, only two pay enough for workers to comfortably afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to the latest Out of Reach report.

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio – which released the report with the National Low Incoming Housing Coalition – continues to urge Gov. Mike DeWine and the General Assembly to invest $308 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to create more affordable housing.

"Our state has the means to start turning this ship around, but time is running out. These funds expire in 2025 and it takes time to build affordable housing," COHHIO Executive Director Amy Riegel said in a statement. "Let's get this done now because no child in Ohio should have to grow up in a homeless shelter or sleeping in a car."

The 2022 report determined a full-time worker needs to earn at least $17.05 an hour to afford an $887 two-bedroom apartment, without paying more than 30% of the income on rent and utilities.

The most popular occupation in Ohio, registered nurses, make a median hourly wage of $35.62 and the No. 9 job, general operations managers, make a median hourly wage of $45.60.

Meanwhile, the No. 5 job, customer service representative, and No. 10, office clerk, make just enough ($17.89 and $17.85, respectively) to afford the two-bedroom apartment. The remaining six most popular jobs make below the $17.05 threshold.

The housing wage is higher in urban and suburban areas, but the gap is wider in rural counties.

The report also found that the gap between income and cost of rent is increasing at a faster rate.

The average cost of a two-bedroom unit increased 12.6% over the past year and 21.4% in the last two years.

Minimum wage is $9.30 and to be able to afford a two-bedroom, a worker would have to have 1.8 full time jobs and be working at least 73 hours a week. For a one-bedroom apartment at $704, the worker would have to have 1.5 full time jobs working 58 hours a week.

Ms. Riegel said affordable housing has been growing scarcer in Ohio for decades, but the situation reached crisis level during the pandemic.

"Rents are spiking, wages are stretched thin, and people can't find an affordable place to live in Ohio anymore. But our state has an historic opportunity to put home within reach for thousands of vulnerable Ohioans," Ms. Riegel said. "Federal fiscal relief funds can help fill the affordable housing gap for seniors, low-income families, and people with disabilities."

More than 225 companies and organizations support the plan, and policymakers have been receptive to COHHIO's proposal, Ms. Riegel said.

Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO, said decades of chronic underfunding for federal housing programs have resulted in a "housing lottery system," where only 25% of eligible households receive the housing assistance they need. (National Report)

"With rents rising rapidly, homelessness worsening, and millions of families struggling to stay housed, federal investments in expanding proven solutions – like Housing Choice Vouchers, the national Housing Trust Fund, and public housing – are badly needed and long overdue," Ms. Yentel said. "As a country, we have the data, partnerships, expertise, solutions, and means to end homelessness and housing poverty – we lack only the political will to fund solutions at the scale necessary."

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