Report: Recession continues to push rental housing further “out of reach” for low income people

Housing wage is $17.44 for two-bedroom apartment in Illinois
According to a report released today (April 22), the Housing Wage for Illinois is $17.44 for a two-bedroom apartment. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn—working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year—to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment renting for $907. The Housing Wage has increased 34.6% since 2000.
The report, Out of Reach 2010, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a Washington, DC-based housing advocacy group, and Housing Action Illinois.
Federal guidelines state that no one should spend more than 30% of their income on housing, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes and insurance.
In Illinois, among metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, the lowest Housing Wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $10.83 in the metro-east Bond County metropolitan area. The highest housing wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $19.52 in the Chicago metropolitan area.
In 2010, the estimated average wage for renters in Illinois is only $15.05, a decline from $15.33 in 2009.  In Illinois, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $8.00. In order to afford market-rate rents for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 87 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. (On July 1, 2010 the minimum wage will increase to $8.25 per hour).
“The statistics in Out of Reach 2010 show that the rents low-income people pay continue to go up at the same time as the wages of renters are decreasing.  Therefore, it is increasingly difficult for low-wage workers to find decent, stable housing,” said Bob Palmer, Policy Director for Housing Action Illinois.
Housing Action Illinois’ mission is to increase and preserve the supply of decent, affordable, accessible housing in Illinois for low-and moderate-income households through advocacy, public education, and technical assistance to nonprofits.
Data for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country is available online, at