Residents must work 1.6 full-time jobs for rent

Posted at 3:06 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 18:13:54-04

In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Bakersfield, renters need to earn $15.88/hour. This is Bakersfield’s 2016 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today. The report, “Out of Reach 2016,” was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, Housing California, and the California Housing Consortium.

Every year, “Out of Reach” reports on the Housing Wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value.

The typical renter in Bakersfield earns $12.91/hour, which is $2.97 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest 2-bedroom apartment.

“As families struggle to keep up with soaring rents, our state has gone in the wrong direction – reducing investment in building homes families can afford by 79% since 2008 and turning away billions in federal funds,” said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium.  “Each year California delays in meeting the rising demand for affordable homes, more families are pushed into poverty.  Governor Brown and the legislature must make this the year we change direction and get California building again.”

Working at the minimum wage of $10/hour in California, a family must have 1.6 wage earners working full-time, 52 weeks a year, or one full-time earner working 64 hours/week, 52 weeks a year, to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in Bakersfield.

"From 2000 to 2013, while rents in Kern County have skyrocketed 23%, renter household income has grown only 2%," said Shamus Roller, executive director of Housing California. "Things can't continue this way. People are not just falling into poverty, California's out-of-control rents are keeping them trapped there. It's time for Governor Brown and the state Legislature to make bold investments in affordable development. It is undeniably a key part of the solution to California's housing crisis."

Assembly Democrats, led by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), with the support of Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles), have proposed that California use a one-time budget surplus to invest $1.3 billion in proven affordable home programs and innovative housing opportunities for Californians.