COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A coalition of organizations and individuals working to end homelessness is pointing to a troubling housing cost trend.
The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio’s (COHHIO) new report says out of the ten most common jobs in the state, only three of those earn enough per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.
The report says to comfortably afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in the state, someone has to make at least $19.09 an hour. In Columbus that amount is much higher; someone has to make at least $22.37 an hour. This is up almost $2 from last year.
“Some people might be like, oh, that’s not that much. But when we think about the trend year over year, what we’re seeing is that numbers that line is going straight up. And this is just a really steep increase. And so that is very concerning. Because we don’t see this trend leveling off,” COHHIO Executive Director Amy Riegel said.
“All I can say when I saw that was wow,” IMPACT Community Action VP of Housing Program Shameikia Smith said. IMPACT Community Action works to fight poverty and provide resources such as rental and housing assistance to the community.
“When we think about the individuals who walk through our doors every day, and when we think about a regular family, right, the issue is and the concern is that now we’re seeing individuals cannot live where they work,” Smith said.
The COHHIO publishes the Out of Reach Report each year. Riegel says the cost to afford rent just keeps going up. “This really underscores that we need every tool possible in the state of Ohio to be able to build affordable housing. We need more units available and the answer in the simplest term is we must build a solution,” she said.
Before the pandemic, IMPACT served about 100 people a year with rental and utility assistance, now it’s up to 200 a month. “We are seeing more and more families, more and more households in need of help, in need of upskilling to get better jobs, in need of assistance just to get over a hurdle,” Smith said.
“We should always think affordable to everyone, everyone should be in a position where they’re not paying more than 30% of their income on rent,” Riegel said. On Tuesday, the Franklin County Commissioners voted to approve more almost $34 million for rent and utility assistance for people in the county. Some of this funding will go to IMPACT Community Action.