Latest data shows TX minimum wage earners can’t afford half the rent on a typical apartment

According to a national report released today, the Housing Wage for Texas is $15.88. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn – working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year – to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market.

The report, Out of Reach 2012: America’s Forgotten Housing Crisis, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization, and the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service. The report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non metropolitan area, and county in the country.

The chart above shows data for Texas

Data from Out of Reach supports what we know about Texas: low income families are still struggling to find decent and affordable housing in communities across the state. An the poor a family is the deeper their hosing crisis. The typical renter in Texas earns $14.97, which is about one dollar less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit. Working at the minimum wage in Texas, a family must have 2.2 minimum wage earners working full-time – or one full-time earner working 88 hours a week– to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

Families at the top end of the Extremely Low Income category fall $361 a month short of being able to pay Fair Market rent on a two bedroom apartment and persons with a disability, living on SSI fall $617 a month short in Texas.

Keep in mind the Three Facts of Texas Housing Affordability:

  1. The poorest Texans have the hardest time finding housing they can afford.
  2. The poorest Texans pay way too much for housing than they can afford.
  3. Texas government spends most of the funds it has to build housing that is not affordable to the poor.

Here is the detailed data for Texas cities and counties.

The National Housing Wage is $18.25 in 2012.

Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, says that while the situation is dire for millions of American renters, solutions are readily available. “The solution to this shortage of housing affordable to the average American renter is simple: we must increase the supply of affordable housing, particularly housing affordable to those in the greatest need. We call on Congress to fund the National Housing Trust Fund immediately, so that we will finally have a solution to the problem of homelessness and housing instability in America.”

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