WASHINGTON, July 23, 2018 – (RealEstateRama) — In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent (FMR) in New Jersey, renters need to earn $28.17 per hour. This is NJ’s 2018 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today. The report, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization dedicated solely to achieving affordable and decent homes for the lowest income people, and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network).
Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage (the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs) for all states and counties in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford a home at FMR. This year’s report shows NJ stuck as the sixth most expensive place to rent and housing advocates are urging state leaders not to divert funds needs to create affordable homes.
“Despite NJ’s housing affordability crisis, resources intended to alleviate the problem continue to be diverted,” said Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network. “The proposed state budget once again siphons the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) which is legally intended for the creation of affordable homes. The legislature and the governor must solve this crisis because our economy cannot thrive if our residents cannot afford to call NJ home.”
New Jerseyans across the board want the AHTF to be used solely for building affordable homes, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. When told that the AHTF has been used to pay for other programs in the state budget in recent years instead of for its original intention, 79 percent of residents say it should be used solely for the latter. The poll found that almost all residents believe the cost of housing is a “very” serious (51 percent) or “somewhat” (35 percent) serious problem. By contrast, only 20 percent of Eagleton respondents in a 2000 survey were concerned about the issue.
The mean wage for a NJ renter is $18.21 an hour, that’s almost $10 below the hourly wage needed to afford a modest home. At the mean wage, an individual would have to work 62 hours a week or 1.6 full time jobs to afford a two-bedroom apartment at FMR. At minimum wage, $8.60 an hour, a New Jersey resident would have to work 131 hours per week or 3.3 full time jobs to afford a two-bedroom at FMR.
“The housing crisis has reached historic heights, most negatively impacting the lowest income renters.” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The struggle to afford modest rental homes is not limited to minimum wage workers; 7 out of 10 of the jobs projected for the greatest growth over the next decade have wages lower that the one-bedroom Housing Wage. Too often, a low wage worker must choose between paying for rent, healthcare, childcare, and other basic necessities. The Administration’s cruel and shortsighted proposals to cut housing benefits would add to the struggles of millions. Rather than threatening the housing stability of families struggling to keep roofs over their heads, Congress must invest in expanding housing solutions that provide stable homes for the lowest income people in our country.”
The New Jersey data from Out of Reach 2018, including county data, is available at www.hcdnnj.org/outofreach. For the complete report, please visit www.nlihc.org/oor.
About the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ
The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey is the statewide association of more than 250 community development corporations, individuals and other organizations that support the creation of affordable homes, economic opportunities, and strong communities. For more information on the Network, visit www.hcdnnj.org.
For more information: Nina Rainiero
(609) 393-3752 x1200
Twitter site: twitter.com/hcdnnj
Facebook site: facebook.com/hcdnnj