June 26, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 107 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
STUDY SHOWS CRISIS IN AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 107
(Extensions of Remarks - June 26, 2018)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E916-E917] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] STUDY SHOWS CRISIS IN AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING ______ HON. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY of illinois in the house of representatives Tuesday, June 26, 2018 Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw my colleagues' attention to the Out of Reach 2018 study recently issued by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The findings of this report are sobering, although perhaps not shocking: in no state, county, or metropolitan area in the United States can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, without spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent alone. Furthermore, there are only 22 counties nationwide where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a one-bedroom rental home. According to the study in the Chicago area I represent, an employee, working 40 hours per week, would need to earn at least $22.69 per hour to afford a simple two-bedroom rental home. Today, a worker earning Illinois' minimum wage of $8.25 must put in 99 hours of work per week to afford rent and have enough left over for other necessities. At the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, a worker would have to put in, at least 122 hours per week--the equivalent of three full-time jobs--to reasonably afford rent at the fair market price. Think about the impact on individuals and families. The NLIHC reports that many low-income renters are forced to settle for substandard rental housing options, where property maintenance is not a priority of property owners. Even still, many Americans are forced to spend more than half of their limited incomes exclusively on rent, leaving them without enough resources to pay for essentials such as child care, health care, or transportation. Family life takes a hit when mothers and fathers must work so many hours away from their homes, often leaving their children alone. What purpose does it serve to create more and more minimum-wage jobs, if Americans must to work two or three of them just to be able to afford a place to sleep? According to this study, not only do minimum-wage working Americans feel the burden of the high housing cost, so too do senior citizens and those with disabilities living within our communities. The NLIHC study found that 71 percent of extremely low-income households spend more than half of their incomes on housing alone. Persistent underfunding has resulted in 3 out 4 low-income households, eligible to receive federal aid, to be left unassisted. Now, as the FY2019 appropriations process moves forward, think about what we can do to [[Page E917]] help address this crisis. Not only do we need to reject the Trump Administration's budget cuts which, according to the report, ``would, if enacted, lead to the largest reduction in affordable housing and community development investments in decades'' and result in the loss of rental assistance for 200,000 families. Instead, we should increase funding for Housing Choice Vouchers, the national Housing Trust Fund, public housing and project-based rental assistance. And, of course, we need to replace the $7.25 federal minimum wage with a living wage by passing H.R. 15, the Raise the Wage Act. I want to congratulate the National Low-Income Housing Coalition for giving us such critical information about how the inadequacy of the federal minimum wage, coupled with the unaffordability of housing, is creating day-to-day crises for millions of Americans. We can solve those crises by investing in housing and providing workers with a better deal and better wages. ____________________