As rents continue to rise in Clark County, so does the wage needed to afford one. A full-time worker needs to earn $18.19 hourly to afford a studio apartment, $20.25 for a one-bedroom or $23.88 for a two-bedroom, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach Report.
“Affordable” means rent is no more than 30 percent of a renter’s income, but more than half of Clark County renters devote a larger chunk of their paychecks toward rent.
The report released Thursday analyzed 2017 fair market rents and wages, showing what people can and cannot afford. There is nowhere in the United States where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment, the report said. With an $11 hourly minimum wage in Washington, rent would have to be $572 to be affordable. Or, that worker would need to work 66 hours weekly to afford even a studio apartment.
The wage needed to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Clark County — known as the housing wage — has increased 58 percent since 2012. This has created a gap between what renters actually earn and what they can afford.
Andy Silver, executive director of the Vancouver-based Council for the Homeless, said the problem is that wages aren’t keeping pace with rents. The average hourly renter wage is $15.07.