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Alaska Is the 9th Most Expensive State for Renters

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Alaska is an expensive state to live in. We have high energy costs, high gas prices, and housing can be expensive. A new study finds that Alaska is one of the ten most expensive states for renters.

The study is from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which is an advocacy organization founded in the mid-70's. The study includes some detailed information about Alaska. The coalition puts the Fair Market Rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Alaska at $1.1-thousand dollars. The study breaks out the fair market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment at $1,086 in the Dillingham Census Area but it's only $686-dollars in the Lake and Peninsula Borough. The fair market rent in the Bristol Bay Borough is $1,081 dollars but in the Bethel Census Area it jumps up to $1.5-thousand dollars. The fair market rent in the Wade Hampton Census Area is $855-dollars and in the Aleutians East Borough it's $880-dollars. The National Low Income Housing Coalition claims that the most expensive fair market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in the State is the $1,581-dollars a month in the Aleutians West census Area. As part of the study the Coalition works out what they call the "Housing Wage". That's the hourly wage needed to afford fair market housing and utilities---without paying more than 30-percent of income on housing.     That's assuming a 40-hour work week. The calculated "Housing Wage" needed to pay for a 2-bedroom apartment in Alaska is $21.37 an hour. It's $20.88 an hour in the Dillingham Census Area but it's just $13.19 an hour in the Lake and Peninsula Borough. The "Housing Wage" for the Bristol Bay Borough is $20.79 an hour and it's $29.31 an hour in the Bethel Census Area. The wage is $16.44 an hour in the Wade Hampton Census Area and it's $16.92 an hour in the Aleutians East Borough. The "Housing Wage" for the Aleutians West Census Area is $30.40 an hour. That's the highest "Housing Wage" in the state. The National Low Income Housing Coalition is focused on advocating for low income people, so as part of their study they looked at the impact of the fair market rent numbers and the "Housing Wage" numbers on low income Alaskans. In Alaska the minimum wage is $7.75 an hour. The Coalition claims that a minimum wage workers in Alaska must work 110 hours a week to afford the fair market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment. The Coalition notes that if minimum wage workers only work 40-hours a week it would take a minimum of nearly 3 wage earners to afford the fair market rent. The National Low Income Housing Coalition puts the estimated average wage for a renter in Alaska at just $16.26 an hour. Under that scenario a person would need to work 53-hours a week to afford fair market rent. The new data about Alaska is part of a new campaign by the National Low Income Housing Coalition to address what it's calling a low income housing crisis in the Nation. Specifically the Coalition is calling for tax policy to be reshaped to make it easier for low income Americans to find affordable housing. The Coalition claims that there are just 5.6-million housing units nationwide for the 10.1-million households labeled as extreme low income. The Coalition notes that currently 76-percent of those households spend more than 50-percent of their income on housing.