housing action
No Affordable Housing Available in WA for Minimum Wage Workers


For Immediate Release:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CONTACT: Reiny Cohen,, 206.251.4083

No Affordable Housing Available in Washington for Minimum Wage Workers


In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in Washington, renters need to earn $23.13 per hour. This is Washington’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 Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.


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.


“Washington, like much of the country, is experiencing an affordable housing crisis,” said Rachael Myers, Executive Director of Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. “This report proves that housing affordability is impacting communities statewide, and to address it we must take action – both by creating and preserving affordable homes, and by raising the minimum wage. Everyone in Washington deserves the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.”


The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour without an increase since 2009, generating debate and calls 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.


Working at the minimum wage of $9.47 in Washington, a family must have 1.9 full-time workers, or one wage earner working 78 hours a week, to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. Raising the minimum wage to $13.50, which Initiative 1433 would do statewide, would make housing more affordable for a significant number of people in our state.


"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 one solution, but it will require many more resources to address the need."


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