Report: Minn. has serious affordable housing problem

The average two-bedroom apartment is unaffordable for more than half of Minnesota's renter households, a report from housing advocacy organizations concludes.

Fair-market rent for a modest, two-bedroom rental in Minnesota is about $850 and full-time workers would have to earn $16.50 per hour to afford it, according to Minnesota Housing Partnership, one of the groups that released the report in conjunction with the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

But the typical renter in the state only makes about $14.50 per hour.

"There's no county in Minnesota where a full-time minimum wage worker would actually be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment," said Leigh Rosenberg, a researcher for the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

Rosenberg said two-bedroom rentals are even more of a stretch for workers earning the minimum wage of $7.50 an hour.

The federal government considers rents "unaffordable" if they consume more than 30 percent of a household's income. To afford a two-bedroom apartment, someone earning the minimum wage would have to work 91 work hours per week for rent to consume less than 30 percent of their income.

"This means we have a serious housing affordability problem for lower-income workers in our state," Rosenberg said.

The Minnesota Housing Partnership and other housing groups are seeking $100 million in bonding for affordable housing projects at the state legislature.

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