May 22, 2015

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Affordable housing expensive, according to study

Published 10:48 am Friday, May 9, 2014

Low income housing

A single parent would have to work two minimum wage jobs in order to pay for an affordable two-bedroom home in Warren County, according to a recent low income housing study.

In order to afford to rent a two-bedroom home, a person must make $13.13 an hour — equivalent to 1.5 full-time minimum wage jobs — according to the 2014 Out of Reach study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The study uses the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s estimated fair market rent values for each county, parish and borough in the nation and compares them to the standard of not spending more than 30 percent of gross annual income on housing and utilities.

Authors of the study say the high living wages have increased the number of applicants for public housing assistance.

Vicksburg Housing Authority has 430 units, and the average wait time to get into a public housing unit is about 14 months, VHA director Ben Washington said. There are about 130 people on the waiting list, he said.

Statewide the housing wage was $13.59 per hour.

In no county in Mississippi could a renter afford a two-bedroom home while working a single job for federal minimum wage — $7.25 an hour.

Of the state’s 82 counties, 21 ranked as more expensive to live in than Warren County. Issaquena County had the most expensive housing wage at $18.65. Forty-two counties tied at $11.81 per hour as the least expensive.

Mississippi remains the ninth least expensive state or in the country to live in, according to the study which included Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Hawaii topped the list with a minimum housing wage of $31.54 per hour, and Puerto Rico came in at 52 with a housing wage of $10.19 per hour.