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Study: High rents make housing unaffordable for many in Yolo

In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair-market rent in Yolo County, renters need to earn $21.23 per hour, a study released Monday reports.

“Out of Reach 2014″ was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization, and the California Coalition for Rural Housing.

The comparable figure in California as a whole, called the state’s “housing wage,” is $26.04 per hour, making Yolo look downright affordable by comparison.

Working at the $8 minimum wage in California, a family must have 3.3 wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 130 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment at an average of $1,354, the study reports.

The typical renter in California earns $18.50, which is still $7.54 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit. At this wage, a renter must work 56 hours per week to afford rent.

A fair-market rent two-bedroom apartment in Yolo County costs about $1,104, requiring a household to hold 2.7 full-time jobs at minimum wage to afford the rent, the study reports.

“The data shows that the hourly wage needed to afford an apartment in California is way greater than what a minimum-wage worker earns,” said Rob Wiener, executive director of the California Coalition for Rural Housing. “The shortage of affordable apartments means that many families have to choose between decent housing and feeding their families.”

The national housing wage is $18.92 in 2014. This year, California is the second most expensive state in the nation for renters. Of the top 10 most expensive metropolitan areas, California claims six spots.

“The report makes it even clearer why it is so critical to pass SB 391, the California Homes and Jobs Act, which would provide about $500 million a year for affordable home ownership and rental housing,” Wiener said in a news release. “Moreover, we need to fund the National Housing Trust Fund under consideration by Congress. Together, they will make a real difference in increasing the local supply of affordable homes.”

For more information, visit www.nlihc.org/oor/2014 or www.calruralhousing.org.

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