Low Income Housing Concerns

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows the gap between what workers must earn to afford rent across the nation.  In Colorado, those numbers have continued to rise, making it harder for low income families.

The new report is titled "Out of Reach 2017".  “It speaks to the imbalance between rental rates and every market across the country and the average income, of the renters in those communities,” said Jody Kole, CEO of the Grand Junction Housing Authority.

According to this report, a renter in Colorado would need to earn $17.35 an hour for one bedroom housing without having to spend more than 30% of their income on housing.  For two bedroom housing, $21.97 an hour would be needed.

“In Colorado with a minimum wage of $9.30 an hour, a minimum wage worker working full time would have to work 75 hours each week to be able to afford the average Colorado rent,” said Kole.

Kole says these numbers are not a surprise even when you compare it to states like New York ($28.08), California ($30.92), and Florida ($20.68).

“A colleague of mine says that Colorado is the most expensive place to live in America to live that doesn’t have a sea coast,” said Kole.

While the front range continues to have an economic boom, the impact of increases can be felt in Grand Junction.

“Our rents are not nearly as high as the front rage, sadly however, our incomes however are lower than those in the front range,” said Kole.

To afford rent for one bedroom housing in Grand Junction, a renter would need a wage of $11.56 an hour and for two bedroom housing, $15.37 an hour.

“Unfortunately in Grand Junction we have a lot more $10 and $12 dollar an hour jobs and $15 dollar an hour jobs, thus you can see the imbalance,” said Kole.

Kole hopes to see wage increases and cheaper housing to help out families who can’t afford to not have a roof over their heads.

Another concern for affordable housing is the new proposed federal budget put forth by President Trump which would cut funding for affordable housing by 13%.  Kole says that will greatly impact the Grand Junction Housing Authority.

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