Image courtesy Shutterstock. Image courtesy Shutterstock.

“The lack of housing affordable to for low-wage, often times the ‘essential front-line’ workers is solvable — during and after COVID-19.”

A new report revealed full-time workers need to make at least $21 an hour to be able to afford decent housing, which is a high bar for a lot of essential workers right now.

That quantity is Arizona’s official 2020 Housing Wage, according to a new national report called Out of Reach. It was just released by both the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Arizona Housing Coalition

Out of Reach determined employees must make at least $21.10 per hour to be able to afford a “modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Arizona.” 

The report found that before the coronavirus pandemic, over 7.7 million renters were spending more than half of their (low) incomes on housing. In fact, renters in every zip code in the country spend almost a third of their income on housing expenses. 

Executive Director of the Arizona Housing Coalition Joan Serviss said in a statement, “The lack of housing affordable to for low-wage, often times the ‘essential front-line’ workers is solvable — during and after COVID-19. First, to prevent a wave of evictions in the coming months, Congress must provide at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to keep low-income renters stably housed in the next coronavirus relief act.”

Serviss also wants state lawmakers to take action and restore the state investment to the housing trust fund to enact new tools like a state low-income housing tax credit.

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel echos that, “Housing is a basic human need, but millions of people in America can’t afford a safe, stable home. The harm and trauma of this enduring challenge is laid bare during COVID-19, when millions of people in America risk losing their homes during a pandemic.”