A newly released report finds a sizeable gap between what renters in Travis County earn and the housing they can afford.
The report, Out of Reach 2017, was recently released by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). It reports that a Travis County resident working full-time would need to earn $21.65 an hour for a two-bedroom apartment without exceeding more than 30 percent of his or her income—a common budgeting standard called a “housing wage.” For a compact efficiency apartment, a renter would need to earn $14.23 an hour, nearly double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The data suggest that Travis County renters making the federal minimum wage would need to work 117 hours a week—or nearly three full-time jobs—to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Renters compose nearly half (48 percent) of Travis County’s estimated 419,496 households.
The NLIHC report noted that Travis County rents were at the upper range of housing costs in the state. Only Midland County, in West Texas, requires a higher housing wage of $24.15. The national average rent is $892 a month for a modest one-bedroom apartment and $1,103 for a two-bedroom apartment.
In April, the Austin City Council took a significant step toward addressing the issue of affordable housing by passing the Strategic Housing Blueprint, an integrated, multi-layered strategy to construct 60,000 affordable housing units in Austin by 2027.