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This is from a release distributed this morning by the North Carolina Housing Coalition:

High rents make housing unaffordable for many in Raleigh-Cary

Raleigh, N.C. –Renters in the Raleigh-Cary area need to earn $16.88 per hour in order to afford a basic apartment here, according to a report released today that compares the cost of rental housing with what renters can really afford.

The report, Out of Reach 2013, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization, and the North Carolina Housing Coalition. The report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non metropolitan area, and county in the country. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market. Read More

Senior Researcher Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put up an extremely helpful and illuminating post yesterday afternoon on the group’s Off the Charts blog about poverty.

It shows a critical fact that is frequently misrepresented or not reported in the public debate:  While poverty has been on the rise over the last decade, non-cash public benefits like housing assistance and food stamps (SNAP) do make a significant difference in keeping it in check.  He notes that because the “official” poverty rate is based on pre-tax cash income, it ignores important non-cash benefits that, when factored in, lower the poverty rate.

This does not mean, however, as conservatives frequently try to argue, Read More

A new report released Tuesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) shows a mismatch between the cost of rental housing and the wages people earn day-to-day.

Out of Reach 2012 finds in North Carolina the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a decent, two-bedroom apartment is $709 a month. A person working the standard 40-hour work week would need to earn roughly an hourly wage of $13.63 to cover their rent and basic utilities.

Now if you make minimum wage ($7.25), you would need to have two full-time jobs or work roughly 75 hours each and every week to be able to afford that same modest apartment in the Tar Heel state.

Across the country, with more families opting to rent over home ownership, vacancy rates are down and rents are trending higher. NLIHC notes that is placing an even greater burden on extremely low-income households, including seniors and those on a fixed-income. And the problem has only gotten worse in recent years:

Despite the immense need, the supply of low-cost rental units is actually shrinking, as more units are converted to serve higher income tenants or fall into disrepair. According to recent ACS [Census] data, the number of units renting for $500 or less fell by one million from 2007 to 2010, and during that same time period, the number of units renting at $1,250 or more grew by two million units.

To read the full report, which includes a look at rental housing in all of NC’s 100 counties, click here.

Raleigh residents vote tomorrow, October 11, on bonds for affordable housing and transportation. At a time when Raleigh residents continue to pay higher rent prices amidst dwindling incomes, seniors find it more and more difficult to stay in safe homes, and the state faces a deteriorating infrastructure problem, voters have an opportunity to support programs that lead to better long-term economic growth. Moreover, record-low interest rates and high unemployment make now an especially cost-effective time to borrow and invest in the city of Raleigh. Read More