Minimum Wage and Rent

Sherrill Fulghum By Sherrill Fulghum, 1st Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Minimum wage discussions have been all the rage, but what about the money required to pay the rent?

What about the Rent money?

Recent months have seen a great deal of banter over the minimum wage for US workers and how many cannot live comfortably...and in some cases survive...on the money they earn. Many of these workers rely on government subsidies to help them with basic needs like rent and food.

Mandi Woodruff from Yahoo Finance took a different stance on the subject quoting from the annual “Out of Reach” report issued by the National Low Income Housing Coalition on how much money a worker would have to earn in order to afford “basic” rented housing.

The federal government - Department of Housing and Urban Development – has determined that a person should not spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing and 40% for housing and utilities; but according to the “Out of Reach” report that is no longer feasible. According to the Report US workers would need to earn an average of $19.35 per hour – amounts ranged from $13 to $32 depending on the state – in order to afford a “basic” apartment - $800 average for a one bedroom and $1,000 for two bedroom apartments – says the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Woodruff also noted that at current wage amounts a worker in the United States would need to work a minimum of 60 hours per week and in some cases 80 hours per week in order to earn enough money for affordable housing.

A number of arguments on the housing and wage subject vary widely from telling people to move, get an education, or get another job or jobs. Those suggestions presuppose that there is money available to the worker in need. If there were enough money for schooling or moving fees, then there would be enough money for the rent; and the third suggestion presupposes that there is a job to be had in the first place.

But none of these suggestions take into consideration a large number of US citizens...those who cannot work due to illness, age, or disability.

According to the United States government there are some 50 million citizens with a disability and around the same number of older citizens who are listed as retired or on Social Security. While a number of these citizens do work, there is also a great number who cannot work and depend on Social Security, Social Security Disability, or Social Security Supplemental Income. Some of these same citizens also need help from Social Services in order to survive.

With the double digit increases in rent for apartments in recent years, how are people who are on severely limited or “fixed” incomes supposed to find a place that they can afford? There is no option of moving or simply adding another job.

And affordable housing units and programs are dwindling, making it even harder to get any assistance.

Members of Congress are steadily trying to eliminate Social Service programs while they harp on the numbers of people who are forced to live on the street.

Currently SSI allows for a maximum of about $700 per month; and while this money comes with Medicaid – free medical care – that amount is hardly enough to make the month and the money end at the same time. In areas where middle class working people have to work two and three jobs to afford, how is a person with a disability supposed to live on $700 a month? Just to compare, the minimum wage before taxes is $1,160 per month.

Social Security and Social Security Disability are determined by how much money the person earned when they were working. Social Security and SSDI recipients are eligible for Medicare – which is NOT free. Medicare pays only a portion of the costs and requires a fee each month of around $100, much like regular health insurance. Even with the new prescription plans, and prescription co-pays can be very expensive; forcing people to decide between eating and taking their medication. Yet the rents keep getting higher and higher.

In many areas it is now cheaper to buy a house than it is to rent a flat; but purchasing a home requires credit checks and down payments – again funding that does not exist.

Raising the amount of the minimum wage is all and good but there are as many people who are in need of more money to survive and get far less than the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Instead of worrying about the minimum wage, perhaps it is time for Congress to put a maximum on the amount money hungry slum lords can take from their tenants. There is nothing wrong with earning a profit but when greed takes over and the poor are made to suffer because of it, then there is a problem...a big one!


Congress, High Rent, Homeless, Mandi Woodruff, Minimum Wage, Social Security, Yahoo, Yahoo Finance

Meet the author

author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
Sherrill is an award winning journalist with a speciality in music and entertainment. She is also a photographer.

Sherril is a writer for thedailyvoice

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author avatar Kingwell
2nd Jun 2015 (#)

A good share. The minimum wage is also a hot item here in Canada. People living in large cities especially have housing problems as we. Blessings.

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author avatar Nancy Austin
5th Jun 2015 (#)

Thanks for caring enough to write this article.

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author avatar Nancy Austin
5th Jun 2015 (#)

Yes, I think there should be a law how much land lords can charge on places not fit to live. We lived in two of them for eight yrs. in the U.S.A. It's rough all over.

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
5th Jun 2015 (#)

It's a real shame when a land lord doesn't care for his properties; especially when they are historical sites. My flat is in a house that was built in 1903 and has been listed as a historical site by the Historical Society. It is only one of 125 my land lord owns and he really doesn't keep them up properly.

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author avatar Nancy Austin
6th Jun 2015 (#)

I know you would think they would. They should or not own property.

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