To afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Pennsylvania, full-time workers need to earn $26.26 per hour. This is Pennsylvania’s “2024 Housing Wage” according to Out of Reach, a report published jointly today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (HAP), of which LAMPa is a member.

Released annually, Out of Reach illuminates the gulf between wages and what people need to earn to afford their rents and shows how affordable rental homes are out of reach for millions of low wage workers and other families. The report’s “Housing Wage” is an estimate of the hourly wage full-time workers must earn to afford a rental home at fair market rent without spending more than 30% of their incomes. According to this year’s report, the national 2024 Housing Wage is $32.11 per hour for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $26.74 for a modest one-bedroom rental home.

Out of Reach 2024 reveals that even when factoring in higher state and county-level minimum wages, the average minimum-wage worker in the U.S. must work 113 hours per week (2.8 full-time jobs) to afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent, or 95 hours per week (2.4 full-time jobs) to afford a one-bedroom rental home at the fair market rent. In only 6% of counties nationwide (not including Puerto Rico) can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental home at the fair market rent, and these counties are in states with a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour – a wage that has remained unchanged since 2009.

Yet higher minimum wages alone will not solve the housing affordability crisis: 58 counties and municipalities have minimum wages set higher than the federal or, where applicable, state minimum wage, but in each of these jurisdictions, the local minimum wage still falls short of the local one-bedroom and two-bedroom Housing Wages. Working at the minimum wage of $7.25 in Pennsylvania, for example, a wage earner must have 3 full-time jobs or work 119 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment and have 3.6 full-time jobs or work 145 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

With the cost of rent growing further out of reach for those with the lowest incomes and absent an adequate housing safety net, it is no surprise that homelessness has been on the rise. Existing research shows a strong connection between housing costs and homelessness in the U.S. The annual Point-In-Time count conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that approximately 653,000 people were experiencing homelessness in January 2023 – the highest number that has ever been recorded through the count and a 12% rise over the previous year. Out of Reach 2024 sheds light on one of the primary causes of increasing homelessness by uncovering the extreme discrepancies between wages and rents.

The report points to a number of policy prescriptions for addressing the affordable housing and homelessness crisis. In Pennsylvania, two bipartisan and proven measures are pending full funding and would greatly assist the need for affordable housing in the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE), administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority, expands opportunity for people in need and revitalizes communities. Funded through a portion of the PA Realty Transfer Tax (RTT), PHARE supports hundreds of projects annually to end homelessness, support home ownership, rehabilitate blighted properties, and provide housing for veterans, the elderly, and re-entry community.

Additionally, the Whole-Home Repairs Act aids homeowners across the commonwealth in making necessary repairs that they cannot afford, both to houses they live in, and to ones they rent out to tenants. These repairs can range from relatively minor fixes such as weatherproofing to major renovations that could keep older homes inhabitable, reduce energy use and save on future health and utility costs. In its first year, the demand for this program outstripped availability, with counties creating long waiting lists for services.

Take action now to call on PA legislators to make sure both the PHARE Fund and the Whole-Homes Repairs Act are fully funded in this year’s budget.

“Housing is a basic human need and should be regarded an unconditional human right,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “This year’s Out of Reach report shows that despite rising wages, cooling inflation, and low unemployment, low-wage workers and other renters continue to struggle with the high cost of rent. Addressing the challenge requires long-term federal investments
in affordable housing. As evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal policies and resources play a pivotal role in establishing a robust housing safety net, preventing evictions and homelessness, and mitigating housing instability among renters with the lowest incomes. Likewise, federal renter protections are needed to ensure decent, safe, and accessible living conditions for
tenants around the country.”

For additional information, and to download the report, visit:

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