Affordable Housing Is Out Of Reach In Idaho For Low-Wage Workers Idaho
BOISE – Rental prices across Idaho continue to exceed tenant wages, according to the 2021 Out of Reach report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The housing affordability challenge in Idaho affects many small towns and rural communities across the state, forcing households across the state to pay more than they can afford.
“The growing gap between the cost of rent and Idaho’s minimum wage leaves many families burdened with housing costs and an unforeseen financial shortfall away from inability to pay rent and imminent risk of eviction . In 2020, many of our neighbors lost their jobs and were burdened with additional health and / or childcare costs. This has left our already vulnerable low-income families in increasingly precarious financial situations and at risk of deportation and homelessness. Calls for rental assistance to our organization tripled as of March 2020 and this increased demand continues as parts of Idaho see rent prices rising faster than anywhere in the country, ”Hannah said. Sharp, development manager at Jesse Tree, a non-profit rental aid organization.
Idaho’s minimum wage has remained at $ 7.25 an hour without an increase since 2009, not keeping up with the high cost of rental housing. Working for minimum wage in Idaho, an employee must have 1.9 full-time jobs or work 76 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment and work 2.9 full-time jobs or work 96 hours. per week at minimum wage to afford two-bedroom apartments.
“Rapidly rising rent prices in Idaho continue to outpace wage growth and affordable housing is increasingly difficult to find. Idaho residents across the state are feeling this market squeeze and the consequences are far reaching. When families cannot find housing with affordable rents, they cannot afford the necessities they need to ensure their households have access to important health services and medicines, nutritious food. , quality child care and other necessities, ”said Kendra Knighten, policy associate with the Idaho Asset Construction Network. “Ensuring that every Idahoan has access to affordable housing is essential to ensuring that our families, neighbors and communities are healthy and prosperous. ”
A home is affordable when rent and utilities cost no more than thirty percent of a household’s income or less. Statewide, the fair market rent for a modest two-bedroom home is $ 903 per month, which is affordable for Idaho households earning $ 36,116 or more per year, or 17.36 $ per hour. On average, Idaho renter households earn $ 13.62 per hour.
The report also highlights the “housing wage” for counties in Idaho by calculating the wage needed to live in a house at affordable rent. In Ada and Canyon counties, the housing wage is $ 19.27, while the average renter wage is $ 15.67 and $ 12.11, respectively. Rural counties such as Boise, Owyhee, and Blaine also have housing wages above $ 19 an hour.
Supplementary Security Income (SSI) payments are capped monthly at $ 794 for an eligible person and $ 1,191 for an eligible couple, making rent prices particularly difficult for people with this type of income, including the elderly and the disabled.
“Finding affordable and accessible housing has only become more difficult in recent years for Idahoans with disabilities and their families,” according to Mel Leviton, executive director of the Idaho State Independent Living Council. “We hear daily from overpriced people who are desperate for something they can afford with a fixed income or low to moderate wage jobs. We talk to people with mental illness, blind people, people in wheelchairs, people with intellectual disabilities and people with multiple disabilities. People with disabilities are increasingly forced to move further and further away from transportation, safe sidewalks, jobs, schools and the communities they call home. They are often billed for apartments on the ground floor or affordable mobile homes and for confined and expensive care in retirement homes. Even people who see themselves as having a solidly average income cannot find housing that they can afford AND physically use. Where does it end?
In Idaho, only one in four households eligible for housing assistance receives it. Congress can ease high rents for Idaho residents by supporting long-term housing solutions such as: increasing funding for the Housing Choice Voucher program to ensure all eligible families have access to assistance, l ” increased investment in the National Housing Trust Fund to build more affordable housing, and the establishment of an Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial assistance and housing stability services to families facing urgent unforeseen expenses.
Read the Out of Reach report: https://bit.ly/3kr8j8R