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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

May, 2008


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From the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)
Housing Out Of Reach For Millions

NLIHC's Out of Reach 2007- 2008, released Monday, April 7, reports that the national Housing Wage-the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest two-bedroom home in his or her community-for 2008 is $17.32, while the average wage for all workers is $16.00 and the estimated wage for the average renter is just $13.94, according to the report. The national Housing Wage is up from $16.31 in the last Out of Reach report, and is nearly 36% higher than the comparable number for 2000.
The report also finds that in 2008 a full-time (40 hours a week/52 weeks a year) minimum wage worker still cannot afford even a one-bedroom apartment in any jurisdiction in the country at the Fair Market Rent. This is despite the increase in the federal minimum wage to $5.85 last year and minimum wage level above the federal requirement in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Affordable rental housing clearly continues to be unattainable for people laboring in the low wage work force and for seniors and people with disabilities on fixed incomes.

The United States is in the grips of a growing housing crisis. With the recent focus on mortgage foreclosures, it is easy to lose sight of the fundamental housing problem that underlies even this most recent crisis: the growing gap between wages and the cost of even modest housing, and the failure of our national housing policy to provide safe, decent, affordable housing for millions of Americans. For nearly two decades, NLIHC's Out of Reach report has brought public attention to this growing gap.

In the preface to the report, Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, states, "The numbers in Out of Reach are a stark reminder that in nearly every community in our nation, families are struggling to make ends meet... more must be done to ensure housing opportunities for all."

This year the report is being released during a national teleconference for the media and by individual state coalitions and partners today and throughout this month.

Out of Reach is a resource for people who want to document the housing circumstances of low-income people in their communities. Visitors to www.nlihc.org can view data for each state, county, and metropolitan area as well as for combined non-metropolitan areas in each state. These data can also be downloaded in state-by-state reports in PDF and Excel for presentation and further analysis. The report's introduction and appendices explaining the findings and the data, along with the preface from Senator Dodd and a press kit, are also available at the website.

Out of Reach 2007-2008: The Wait for a Home Grows Longer is available at

http://nlihc.org/oor2008/.

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