May 2017, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo Article
It’s not easy being poor in San Luis Obispo County. Or even middle class, for that matter.
High housing costs play a big role in the Central Coast’s unaffordability, as underscored by National Low Income Housing Coalition data released this week. Affordable rental housing — units that cost residents no more than 30 percent of their income — is tough to find in San Luis Obispo County and across the country, especially for those working for minimum wage.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates a fair market two-bedroom apartment averages about $1,056 in the U.S. A resident would need to earn about $20.30, or $42,240 per year, to afford such housing. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, meaning a worker would have to work about 112 hours per week to pay for their housing.
In California, where the minimum wage is $10 per hour, the Housing Coalition’s study ranks California as having the third most expensive housing in the country. A resident must earn about $28.59 per hour, or $59,464 per year, to afford the $1,487 monthly rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment. Although the state’s minimum wage is set to go up to $15, the cost of housing still outpaces the jump in salary.