For Immediate Release
Cathy Alderman, Vice President of Communications and Public Policy
No Affordable Housing Available in Colorado for Minimum Wage Workers
In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in Colorado, renters need to earn $21.12 an hour. This is Colorado’s 2016 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today. The report, Out of Reach 2016, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value.
“The rental housing market in Denver truly is out of reach for so many in our community. As rents and home prices continue to rise, more and more families are being pushed out of their homes and forced to rely on the help of family and friends. Many of these people are now finding themselves living on the streets,” said John Parvensky, President and CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “Building more affordable housing is more critical than ever for low and extremely-low income families and individuals in our Colorado communities.”
The federal minimum wage has remained stagnant at $7.25 an hour without an increase since 2009, generating debate and demands to raise the wage both at the state and federal level. In no state, even those where the minimum wage has been set above the federal standard, can a minimum wage renter working a 40 hour work week afford a one-bedroom rental unit at the average Fair Market Rent. In Colorado where the minimum wage is just $8.31 an hour, a family must either have 2.5 full-time wage earners or one full-time earner working 102 hours per week in order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. Data from the report shows that the typical renter in Colorado earns about $15.97 per hour, which is still $5.15 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.
"The Out of Reach data reflect a grim reality across the nation. There is no place in the United States where a minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "We as a nation must respond by investing in affordable housing for the lowest income households in America. The new national Housing Trust Fund is a critical solution, but it must be significantly expanded to address the need."
For additional information, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor
About National Low Income Housing Coalition
NLIHC is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. Founded in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing for everyone. NLIHC’s goals are to preserve existing federally assisted homes and housing resources, expand the supply of low income housing, and establish housing stability as the primary purpose of federal low income housing policy. Learn more at www.nlihc.org.
About Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
The mission of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is to work collaboratively toward the prevention of homelessness and the creation of lasting solutions for homeless and at-risk families, children, and individuals throughout Colorado. The Coalition advocates for and provides a continuum of housing and a variety of services to improve the health, well-being and stability of those it serves. Since its founding more than 30 years ago, the organization has earned state and national recognition for its integrated healthcare, housing and service programs. The Coalition’s comprehensive approach addresses the causes of homelessness, as well as the consequences, offering critical assistance to over 15,000 individuals and families each year. Learn more at www.coloradocoalition.org.