A new study released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that the minimum hourly wage someone must earn to be able to afford rent and utilities nationally for a two-bedroom home has increased by 41 cents over last year. The new report, "Out of Reach 2005," finds that the national housing wage this year is $15.78 an hour, or $32,822 annually, up from $15.37 an hour in 2004, which is more than three times the federal minimum wage. The housing wage represents the amount a full-time worker must earn to afford housing while paying no more than 30 percent of income for housing. "The disparity between what people earn and what even modest rental housing costs grows larger each year," said Sheila Crowley, president of NLIHC. "This is the housing market in which millions of low-wage workers and elderly or disabled people must try to find safe and decent homes. Now tens of thousands of displaced people from the Gulf Coast have joined them in this competition for scarce housing t...
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