North Carolina Housing Coalition: Asheville is out of reach

Full announcement from the North Carolina Housing Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. –According to a national report released today, the Housing Wage for North Carolina is $13.63. 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. In the Asheville metropolitan area, the Housing Wage is $13.54.

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 North Carolina Housing Coalition. 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.

“Data from Out of Reach supports what we know about North Carolina: low income families are still struggling to find decent and affordable housing in communities across the state,” said Chris Estes, executive director for the NC Housing Coalition. “While we work to rebuild our economy after the recession, we cannot forget the low income families across America whose basic housing needs continue to be unmet.”

Working at the minimum wage in North Carolina and in the Asheville region, a family must have 2 wage earners working full-time – or one full-time earner working 75 hours per week – to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

The typical renter in the Asheville metro area earns $11.06 per hour, which is $2.48 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit. Nearly 50% of renters in and around Asheville do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent.

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.”

In North Carolina, 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the North Carolina Housing Trust Fund. In those 25 years, the award-wining program has financed nearly 25,000 safe, quality, affordable homes and apartments, most for very low income families. It has created thousands of much-needed construction jobs and generated millions in local and state tax revenue. As the state readies itself for another contentious legislative session, housing advocates are urging lawmakers to strengthen the NC Housing Trust Fund, a program with historic bi-partisan support that can help preserve and develop new affordable rental housing and strengthen communities across the state.

Additional Facts about the Asheville Area:
· 29% of all households in the Asheville Metro area are renters.
· 32% of all households in Buncombe County are renters.
· In the Asheville metro area, the cost of a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent is $704.

Additional Facts about North Carolina:
· The Housing Wage in the Charlotte Metropolitan Area is $15.21.
· The Housing Wage in the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Area is $16.33.
· North Carolinians across the state receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can only afford to pay $209 per month in rent.

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