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Want to rent housing in SLO County? Here’s how many hours you’ll need to work

San Luis Obispo County residents making minimum wage must work nearly 100 hours per week to afford an apartment, according to a recent national report on low income housing.

The county’s low-wage workers must spend 99 hours on the job to rent a fair market $1,542 two-bedroom house or apartment, according to Out of Reach, an annual report compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

The report analyzes housing costs and minimum-wage salaries across the United States to determine rental affordability.

Minimum-wage workers earn $12 per hour in California, so residents spending 30% of their incomes on housing — the percentage generally considered affordable — shouldn’t pay more than $624 in rent.

But two-bedroom rentals in San Luis Obispo County — where about 40% of residents rent — are only affordable for those earning $29.65 per hour, or $61,680 per year.

The county’s median household income is $67,175, according to U.S. Census Bureau data gathered from 2013 to 2017.



Out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, California was ranked the second most expensive place to rent an apartment, just behind Hawaii. In Hawaii, renters need to make $36.82 per hour or work a minimum-wage job for 146 hours per week on average to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to NLIHC.

Renters in the Golden State need to make $34.69 per hour or work a minimum-wage job for 116 hours per week on average to afford that same apartment, according to NLIHC.

San Luis Obispo County is the state’s 15th least affordable in terms of the number of hours a minimum-wage employee needs to work to afford rental housing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most expensive places in California were reported to be in the Bay Area.

San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties were all given identical figures. In these counties, renters need to make $60.96 per hour, work a whopping 203 hours per week at a minimum-wage job or make $126,800 per year, according to NLIHC.

The cheapest place in California was Modoc County, where a renter needs to make just $13.46 per hour, work 45 hours per week at a minimum wage job or have a salary of $28,000 to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to NLIHC.

To learn more, visit reports.nlihc.org/oor/california.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.
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