Housing is Out of Reach in Michigan for Low-Wage Workers

Michiganders earning minimum wage must work 57 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental home

Michigan, July 14—The National Low Income Housing Coalition released their latest Out of Reach report, highlighting the significant gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing across the United States. Low wages, wage disparities, racial inequalities, and a severe shortage of affordable and available rental homes continue to leave far too many people in Michigan struggling to keep roofs over their heads. 

“The Out of Reach data, which doesn’t include COVID-19 impacts, shows renters’ wages are below what’s needed to afford rental housing in Michigan, including renters in prevalent low-wage occupations in industries such as retail, fast food, and food service—who are now being hit the hardest financially by the pandemic,” said Luke Forrest, executive director of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). “With an estimated 31% of renter households experiencing at least one job loss, it’s critical to allocate significant rental assistance funds to support both tenants and landlords.”  

Out of Reach Data

  • In Michigan, one must work 57 hours per week at minimum wage (which is $9.65) to afford a one-bedroom rental home and 72 hours per week at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom rental home
  • In Michigan, one must earn $17.42 per hour in order to afford a two-bedroom rental home, but the average renter in Michigan earns $15.38
  • Nationally, 44% of Black households are classified as “rent-burdened,” compared to 26% of white households

“We’re facing a housing crisis with an expected wave of evictions occurring once the state moratorium is lifted on July 16,” said Eric Hufnagel, executive director of the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness. “We saw more than 65,000 individuals experience homelessness in 2018 with 52% of those being Black despite only making up only 14% of our state’s total population. Without at least $100 billion in rental assistance included in the next federal Coronavirus relief package — and a targeted approach to racial equity in our response — we simply won’t be able to keep Michiganders safely in their homes during and after this pandemic.”

For more information, visit nlihc.org/oor