Paycheck to Paycheck and Not Enough to Pay the Rent

Limited Income and High Rent: A Snapshot of Housing Affordability for Healthcare Workers

The National Housing Conference (NHC)’s annual release of Paycheck to Paycheck provides insights into the ability of working households to afford to pay rent for a  typical housing in metropolitan areas across the country.

Paycheck to Paycheck focuses on the paychecks of individuals working in the healthcare field. “The healthcare industry currently accounts for over one-sixth of the U.S. economy and is expected to continue growing as the population grows and ages.”

But other jobs for which data available range from bank teller to delivery truck driver to preschool teacher to secretary to security guard have difficulty paying the rent.

The Paycheck to Paycheck report highlights the housing affordability challenges of workers in several occupations across 203 metropolitan areas.

The report’s methodology provides for more information on how the National Housing Conference came up with its numbers.

The report is accompanied by a searchable database that can be sorted by 203 metropolitan areas including:

  • Atlantic,
  • Camden,
  • Newark, Ocean
  • City and Vineland.

Using the Paycheck to Paycheck data tool, as just one example of data available, in Newark, NJ, a household needs an annual income of $77,390 to afford to buy a home. In contrast a home health aide makes an annual salary of $32,648 in the Newark region.

In the rental market, a household needs a salary of 442,520 to afford a one-bedroom apartment and $51,520 to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Therefore, the annual home health aide salary is also not even enough to rent a 1 bedroom apartment.

The full Paycheck to Paycheck data tool includes:

  • Graphs that compare wages and housing costs in 203 metro areas and the nation
  • Median incomes for 83 occupations
  • Median home prices and the income needed to afford them
  • Fair market rents and the income needed to afford them

The report includes policy solutions including at the federal level:

  • the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit,
  • rental vouchers, and
  • the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG program.)

At the state and local level:

  • local Housing Trust Funds such as New Jersey’s local Housing Trust Funds in many of new Jersey’s counties provide a policy solution.

The report concludes “Meeting the housing needs of the workers featured in this report is paramount if we are to keep up with our nation’s growing demand for health services. Communities that lack housing affordable to key health workers will struggle to attract and retain the workforce they need to support the health of their residents. A shortage of key health workers can make it more difficult to support aging in place for a growing older population, respond effectively to health emergencies and support the overall health of all individuals.”

Paycheck to Paycheck

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