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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of September 24 - 30, 2003


Blaine County housing costs excessive

Express Staff Writer

A person living in Blaine County needs to earn $13.19 per hour—2.5 times the state minimum wage—to afford to pay the rent for a modest two-bedroom residence, says a report released earlier this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

And, with many wages falling short of that figure, an estimated 37 percent of renters in Blaine County cannot afford a modest two-bedroom unit without spending an excessive percentage of their income, the NLIHC’s 2003 "Out of Reach" housing report states.

The NLIHC is a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to addressing a perceived nationwide shortfall in affordable housing.

The organization’s most recent statistics indicate that approximately 40 percent of Idaho residents cannot afford the so-called "fair-market rent" for a two-bedroom home.

Idaho residents who work 40 hours per week must earn $10.13 per hour to afford an average two-bedroom residence, the report says, approximately twice the minimum wage of $5.15 per hour.

"It is troubling that many Idaho families are working full time and cannot afford a decent place to live," said Tom Lay, executive director of Boise-based Neighborhood Housing Services, a NLIHC affiliate.

The NLIHC, in establishing their "housing wage" figures, assumes that a fair-market-rate unit cannot be deemed affordable if it costs more than 30 percent of the renter’s income.

In Blaine County, the housing wage of $13.19 per hour for a two-bedroom unit represents a more than 2 percent increase over last year’s figure.

A Blaine County resident earning the state minimum wage would have to work 102 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom residence, the report noted.

Fair-market rent in Blaine County was established by the NLIHC as $686 for a two-bedroom unit, and $515 for a one-bedroom unit.

(To view the entire 2003 NLIHC report, visit www.nlihc.org on the Internet.)



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