At minimum wage, rent for one bedroom apartment requires an 87-hour work week

By David Pendered

Yet another report on the high cost of housing in metro Atlanta, this one released Wednesday, shows that a person earning minimum wage would have to work 87 hours a week to afford the rent on a one bedroom apartment.

Peoplestown, affordable housing, Columbia

The Peoplestown Revitalization Corp. worked with the Integral Group and Columbia Properties to develop more than 300 homes that are affordable to current community residents. Credit: Georgia ACT

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s report continues a persistent message that’s rising in volume in this region and across the country – housing prices are rising beyond the reach of many working individuals.

Workers in the metro area earning the minimum wage would have to find a home with rent of $377 a month to be viewed as living within their means, according to the report. Minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

This rate does not include utilities or other household maintenance items.

The report provides some benchmarks for higher wages, as well. The mean wage for a renter’s income in metro Atlanta is $16.58 an hour. At that wage, the worker can afford rent up to $862 a month and remain within the 30 percent sweet spot.

The paper was jointly released by NLIHC and Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc.

Janice Ware

Janice Ware

Georgia ACT’s chair is Janice Ware, executive director of SUMMECH Community Development Corp., which pioneered the development of homes for first-time buyers in Mechanicsville. Georgia ACT’s mission is to, “build a network of strong nonprofit organizations engaged in housing and community development through Georgia,” according to its 2014 IRS tax return.

Georgia ACT used the release of the annual report to highlight work by two of its members to provide affordable housing in the region. Here are two snippets from the statement:

  • “The University Community Development Corporation recently completed work on a 12-unit apartment building in the West View Community acquired with federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. The building is located across from Kipp Strive Academy and near the West Side Beltline trail and is leased to residents with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income (roughly $54,000). Rents there are $600 to $675 for a two-bedroom unit, making them affordable to many working families.

    Affordable housing, Atlanta

    The University Community Development Corp. renovated a 12-unit building in the West View community and the monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $675 or below. Credit: Georgia ACT

  • “Peoplestown Revitalization Corp. produces housing affordable to current residents of Peoplestown, located just south of the Turner Stadium. PRC has partnered with developers, such as the Integral Group and Columbia Residential, to bring more than 300 high quality affordable homes to Peoplestown. “After all our hard work over the years, we see that current residents are being pushed out by rising rents” said Columbus Ward, President of the organization. “This work needs even more support now, especially with the redevelopment planned around Turner Field.”

Nationwide, the report shows a household must earn at least $20.30 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment without spending more than 30 percent of gross income on rent.

Any rent paid above the 30 percent mark means the household is paying a disproportionate share of income on housing, according to the report. This figure does not include the cost of utilities.

Findings in the NLIHC report affirm those contained in one released this month by the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Georgia Tech Professor Daniel Immergluck is the lead author on that paper.

 

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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