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Minimum wage workers can’t afford a two-bedroom rental anywhere in the country, new report says

FILE — A "for rent" sign is pictured in this undated file photo. The Biden administration...
FILE — A "for rent" sign is pictured in this undated file photo. The Biden administration extended the temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures for another month Thursday, June 24, 2021, as many continue to struggle to rebound from the pandemic. The CDC says that this is intended to be the final extension of the eviction moratorium.(KEYC Photo, File)
Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 9:45 PM EDT
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NORFOLK, Va. — Minimum wage workers can’t afford to rent a two-bedroom home or apartment anywhere in America.

That’s according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

One year ago, Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that will gradually raise Virginia’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 by 2026.

“It is impossible for anybody to support themselves -- let alone their families -- on $7.25 an hour. Think about that,” he said as he signed the bill.

The law went into effect in May, raising the minimum wage to $9.50.

Starting January 1, 2022, Virginia’s minimum wage will rise again to $11 an hour.

During Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s Virginia Beach town hall on Thursday night, she said they’re pushing to implement that same gradual increase federally.

“$7.25 is not a living wage,” she told the crowd.

Now, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is no state, county, or city in the U.S. where a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford a two-bedroom rental.

Additionally, there are only about 220 counties out of 3,000 where a minimum wage worker can afford a one-bedroom.

Let’s break this down.

The report says you need to earn $24.90 an hour to afford a two-bedroom at Fair Market Rent. The average Fair Market Rent is $1,061 a month for a one-bedroom and $1,295 a month for a two-bedroom.

Here in Virginia, one would need to make $24.41 per hour to afford a two-bedroom rental. If you make minimum wage, the report says you would have to work 103 hours a week.

During her town hall, Luria was asked how she defines a living wage.

“For a family of an average two-bedroom house or apartment in this area, it’s about $1,200, and if someone makes $2,400 a month, should half of their pre-tax income go just to put a roof over their head?”

But according to this report, with housing prices so high, even $15 an hour isn’t high enough.