Rental Costs Increasingly “Out of Reach” for Thousands of Kansas Families

Kansas Housing Costs Highlighted in 2007-2008 Housing Affordability Report

TOPEKA, KS – The cost of affordable rental housing climbed again in 2007, outpacing the wages of Kansas families who need it most, that according to a new report by the Washington-based National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

“As rents continue to rise across Kansas, workers are spending more and more of their income on housing, which means they have less money for food, clothing, transportation and other basic needs,” said Randy Crandall, Board Chairman of the Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition.

NLIHC’s report “Out of Reach 2007-2008” paints an alarming picture. The report shows the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment in Kansas is $628, up $20 from last year and a 22% increase from 2000. In order to afford this rent, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $2,095 monthly or $25,136 annually. This level of income translates into a housing wage of $12.08 an hour.

The problem is many Kansans make much less. Earning the minimum wage of $5.85 an hour, a person must work 83 hours a week 52 weeks a year, or a family must have 2.1 wage earners working full-time, year round, to afford a two bedroom apartment at fair market rent.

“An estimated 40% of renters in Kansas do not earn enough income to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment without being rent burdened,” says Gary Allsup, Executive Director of Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. “This report clearly illustrates the extreme need for affordable housing in Kansas .

Another group at high risk of experiencing housing difficulties is Kansas seniors. Monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for an individual are $637 in Kansas. If SSI represents an individual’s sole source of income, $191 in monthly rent is affordable, while the FMR for a one-bedroom is $509.

The NLIHC “Out of Reach” annual report provides data for every state, metropolitan area and county showing how much a household must earn to afford a modest market-rate rental home. The report also provides local wage and income data for comparison purposes. For more information on the “Out of Reach” report, visit NLIHC’s website at www.nlihc.org.

The mission of Kansas Housing Resources Corporation is to enhance Kansas communities with housing opportunities using a variety of strategies and approaches, including increasing homeownership opportunities, leveraging the construction of more affordable rental housing, preserving existing housing through rehabilitation, promoting energy efficiency improvements for owner-occupied and rental housing and providing affordable housing through rent assistance to low-income families and senior citizens.

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