Report: Rhode Islanders need to earn double the minimum wage to afford two-bedroom apartment

This is a file image of housing in Rhode Island. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s “Out of Reach 2022” report released Thursday revealed that Rhode Islanders need to earn double the current minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition said full-time Rhode Island workers need to earn $24.32 an hour to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in the state. That means the annual income for Rhode Islander’s must be at least $50,000.

As of now, the minimum wage in the state stands at $12.25.

“A wage earner [making $12.25 an hour] must have 1.6 full-time jobs or work 66 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, and have two full-time jobs, or work 79 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment,” according to the coalition.

The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island is nearly 18% higher than a year ago.

Jack Ringland, a 79-year-old disabled veteran, and his wife Barbara who live in Barrington, said that spikes in rental costs are a “nightmare.”

In June, their rent increased from $950 a month to $1,300, and is slated to reach $1,800 by September.

“We can’t afford the $1,800. We could barely afford the $1,300,” said Ringland. “You can’t find affordability. Affordability is right out of the question.”

Last month, U.S. inflation catapulted to a new four-decade high. Skyrocketing housing costs, combined with the inflation of basic necessities such as gas and food, have left more Rhode Islanders homeless.

“Last Friday, approximately 1,213 Rhode Islanders experienced homelessness. A shocking 314 were estimated to have slept outside or in their cars,” said Caitlin Frumerie, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.9% for a second straight time in its push to conquer the raising fears that the nation may be approaching a recession.

Categories: News, Rhode Island