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.

                          ____________________