Sometimes it takes a number to really put things in perspective.
Take $14.94 for example.
That’s the hourly wage one must earn to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in Columbus at fair market rent, according to a recently released national study.
The report, titled “Out of Reach 2016,” was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington-based research and advocacy organization, and the Georgia ACT, a statewide membership organization of community development and housing counseling agencies.
The folks at NeighborWorks Columbus issued a press release pointing out that the federal minimum wage has remained stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. That means many people in our community are struggling to pay rent, according to the findings.
“The Out of Reach data reflect a grim reality across the nation,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in the news release. “There is no place in the United States where a minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment. We as a nation must respond by investing in affordable housing for the lowest income households in America. The new national Housing Trust Fund is one solution, but it will require many more resources to address the need.”
Cathy Williams, president and CEO of NeighborWorks Columbus, says her organization is already on the job with a new initiative called the Beallwood Senior Veterans Project. The complex, being erected at 4806 and 4810 13th Ave., will have a duplex with two rental units on each lot. Each rental unit will have two bedrooms, two complete handicap-accessible baths, a fully equipped kitchen, and front and rear covered porches. Construction is schedule to begin within the next few weeks.
“We recognized the need in the Columbus/Fort Benning area for affordable rental housing specifically for low-income veterans and surviving spouses,” Williams said. “Because rents are out of reach for so many people, we launched a plan to build affordable housing units in our community. Through a partnership with the City and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, NeighborWorks Columbus will begin building these units later this year.”