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How Much Do You Have To Make To Rent In Washington?

"edge of belltown" by Jeff Wilcox is licensed under CC by 2.0

A person has to make nearly $19 per hour to comfortably rent a one-bedroom apartment in Washington state, according to a new report from a national housing advocacy group.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual Out of Reach report measures housing affordability in terms of how much a person has to make to rent average homes of various sizes.

The report ranks Washington as the 10th most expensive state in the country by that measure. Hawaii was ranked number one.

"We're definitely struggling," said Washington Low Income Housing Alliance Executive Director Rachael Myers.

The report highlights the difference between wages and rents across the country. But in Washington, wages don't tell the whole story, Myers said. 

At $11 per hour, the state minimum wage is one of the highest in the country. But the market is so hot that it's stacked against renters, especially those with lower incomes.

"When the rental market is really tight, it gets really hard for people who have anything less than perfect credit and perfect rental history to find housing," Myers said.

She says the state and the federal government can do more to subsidize housing for low-income renters.

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.