Even at $15 an hour, Twin Cities renters must work overtime for a decent apartment


It doesn't take a years-long campaign, endless public meetings, and the approval of politicians to jack up the rent. Minnesota Housing Partnership

As workers celebrate a hard-won minimum wage hike in Minneapolis, a new report presents a sobering picture on the persistent gap between wages and housing costs across the state.

To afford rent on a modest one bedroom apartment in Minnesota, people need to be making more like $19 an hour, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

Otherwise, a Twin Cities renter would have to work 70 hours a week at the statewide minimum wage of $9.50, and a non-metro renter would have to work 45 hours.

Increasing the minimum wage to $15 -- which Minneapolis will get to by 2024 -- would help reduce those hours. But urban renters will still need to work overtime for the opportunity to live in a place that separates the bedroom from the den.

And the poorest of the poor -- households earning only a third of the median income or less -- can only afford one bedrooms in just four counties, according to the report. They have the choice of the southern counties of Waseca, Sibley, and Lyon, or the near-Winnepeg county of Kittson.

So how to people afford to live under a roof? They cut back on other necessities, the study's authors say.

"For years now, increases in the cost of housing have outpaced renter income in Minnesota," says Chip Halbach of the Minnesota Housing Partnership, "meaning that even more seniors and families are forced to make difficult decisions between paying rent or purchasing food and medicine."


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