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Out of Reach Report 2015

Low-Income Workers Continue to Face Housing Affordability Challenges

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) recently released its annual Out of Reach report. The report is known for defining the Housing RN-Out of Reach 2015-Cover Page 1Wage; the wage one must earn in order to afford a rental unit at Fair Market Rent (FMR) 1.

According to the most recent Out of Reach report, the 2015 Housing Wage is $19.35 for a two-bedroom unit, and $13.50 for a one-bedroom unit at FMR 2. This means that in order to afford a two-bedroom rental unit, a worker would have to make over 2.5 times the federal minium wage. In fact, in 13 states and Washington, DC the Housing Wage is more than $20 an hour. There is no state in the U.S. where a minimum wage earner can afford a one-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent, even if they work full time. NLIHC suggests that the nation needs to add 7.1 million units affordable to Extremely Low Income households in order to meet the demand.

How are Rural Renters Faring?

The Out of Reach report also highlights some of the special challenges faced by residents in rural communities. According to the report, hourly wages in rural areas are insufficient to meet the cost of living, despite lower housing costs compared to nonrural areas. For example, the estimated renter wage in West Virgina is $10.26 and $11.38 in Kentucky, and in both states about 70% of Extremely Low Income renters pay more than half of their incomes toward rent. Paying so much for rent means that there is less money left over for other necessities like food and healthcare.

Two-Bedroom Housing Wage Map 3

RN-Out of Reach 2015-Map

1 Affordable rent is defined as not costing more than 30% of a person’s income. FMR determined by HUD

2 Estimates of Fair Market Rent are produced annually by HUD, and measure the 40th percentile of gross rents for typical, non-substandard rental units occupied by recent movers in a local housing market.

3 National Low Income Housing Coalition. (2015). Out of Reach 2015. Washington, DC. https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/oor/OOR_2015_FULL.pdf

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Download the Out of Reach report published by National Low Income Housing Coalition

Additional HAC Resources on Housing
HAC’s Decennial Report: Taking Stock: Rural People, Poverty, and Housing in 21st Century.
Access data on housing affordability for your community at HAC’s

HAC News: April 2, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 2, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 7

• April is National Fair Housing Month • House subcommittee hearing on FY15 RD budget set for Friday • Waters proposes GSE reform bill • USDA offers Household Water Well System grants • Deadline extended for RD environmental rules comments • NLIHC report confirms housing costs still out of reach • GAO addresses tribes’ housing challenges • New index shows wide opportunity gap for children of different races/ethnicities • Report stresses home- and community-based services for seniors • Rural housing and youth spotlighted in Rural Voices • HAC training “Housing for Seniors and Veterans in Rural America”

April 2, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 7

APRIL IS NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH. HUD offers information for download and a press release.

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON FY15 RD BUDGET SET FOR FRIDAY. At 10:00 a.m. Eastern time on April 4, USDA Rural Development officials will testify on the Administration’s FY15 budget request before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. The hearing will be webcast. Updates will be posted on HAC’s site.

WATERS PROPOSES GSE REFORM BILL. On March 27 Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released a discussion draft of a bill that would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a lender cooperative and would fund the National Housing Trust Fund. It would also replace the affordable housing goals, instead requiring the cooperative to “facilitate” service to all income levels, including borrowers in underserved urban and rural markets. There are also two proposals in the Senate (see HAC News, 3/19/14) and H.R. 2767, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), which passed the House Committee in July 2013 (see HAC News, 8/1/13).

USDA OFFERS HOUSEHOLD WATER WELL SYSTEM GRANTS. Nonprofits can use these funds to establish lending programs for homeowners, who can borrow up to $11,000 to construct or repair household water wells for existing homes. This year’s competition will give points to high-poverty places and to colonias or substantially underserved trust areas. Deadline is May 27. Contact Joyce M. Taylor, RUS, 202-720-9589.

DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR RD ENVIRONMENTAL RULES COMMENTS. Comments on environmental policies and procedures are now due May 7 instead of April 7. (See HAC News, 2/5/14.) Contact Mark S. Plank, RD, 202-720-1649.

NLIHC REPORT CONFIRMS HOUSING COSTS STILL OUT OF REACH. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report, prepared with HAC assistance for nonmetro data, shows a gap remains between rural rent and rural renters’ incomes. NLIHC estimates that the average hourly wage for nonmetro renters nationwide is $10.24, which falls $3 short of the Housing Wage necessary to afford a two-bedroom home at HUD’s Fair Market Rent. The nonmetro Housing Wage is out of reach for those earning the average renter wage in all but two states (Alaska and North Dakota), though the gap is very small in four other states (Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wyoming). The report and data for states, counties, and metro areas are online, as is a HAC Rural Research Note.

GAO ADDRESSES TRIBES’ HOUSING CHALLENGES. Native American Housing: Additional Actions Needed to Better Support Tribal Efforts, GAO-14-255, is based on site visits, interviews, and sources including HAC. It states that challenges tribes face in their use of Indian Housing Block Grant funds are “largely related to remoteness and other geographical factors, land use regulations, lack of adequate infrastructure, differing federal agency requirements, potential reduction in training opportunities and program support, limited administrative capacity, conflict within tribes, and cultural factors.” GAO recommends changes such as federal agency coordination of environmental impact requirements.

NEW INDEX SHOWS WIDE OPPORTUNITY GAP FOR CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT RACES/ETHNICITIES. Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Childrencompiles indicators on health, education, family environment, and neighborhood poverty into a single index and presents results for each state. Nationally, Asian/Pacific Islander and White children have far higher index scores than Latino and Native American children, and African-American children have the lowest. At the state level, the lowest scores were among American Indian children in South Dakota. Scores vary across states for all groups, but the range of scores is widest for American Indian children and narrowest for Latino children.

REPORT STRESSES HOME- AND COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES FOR SENIORS. Aging in Every Place: Supportive Service Programs for High and Low Density Communities says such services are a cost-effective way to help older adults maintain their quality of life as they age in their homes. Published by the Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference, the report notes that successful programs in rural places often offer transportation, use existing community centers, or bring services to the homes of those who are unable to travel.

RURAL HOUSING AND YOUTH SPOTLIGHTED IN RURAL VOICES. Looking to the Future: Housing and Youth in Rural America is the latest issue of HAC’s magazine. Sign up online for email notices when new issues are published, or request one free print subscription per organization from Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600.

JOIN HAC APRIL 22-23 FOR “HOUSING SENIORS AND VETERANS IN RURAL AMERICA: PRESERVATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND SERVICES,” held in Phoenix, AZ. The agenda, targeted to rural housing providers, will feature discussions of federal and other housing programs for veterans and the aging, including home repair, rental housing, and services for the homeless. Successful best practices will be featured. Register online.