Report Indicates Current Wages Don't Match Up With VA Housing Costs
The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that on average, in Virginia, you would need to make at least $21.10 per hour to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Alternately, you would need to work 97 hours per week while earning minimum wage to afford a one-bedroom apartment. The report also cites the gap between renter wage and the wage needed to afford a two-bedroom unit in a few highlighted states.
Overall, the report indicates Virginia is one of the ten worst states for affordable housing, coming in behind the likes of California, New York, and Washington D.C.
Living wage activists in Charlottesville say they're not surprised. They argue the current minimum wage, $7.25 per hour is not enough for families to afford food, housing, and basic necessities.
"It's not just the wages but it's the other things around you that start adding up to be more costly and your quality of life goes down. There's a pretty direct relationship we can see with that," says Joe Szakos of Virginia Organizing.
Szakos says in addition to higher wages, Virginia needs more affordable housing.
Living wage advocates argue that the demand for rentals keeps growing because less people can afford to buy.