The left is claiming that there is nowhere in the country where a minimum wage job can rent an apartment and then using that as a talking point to push for a higher minimum wage. This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, and based upon several false assumptions.

First, this is based upon the fact that housing should not be more than 30% of a person’s income. They refer to the “Housing Wage” which is defined as:  an estimate of the full time hourly wage
that a household must earn to afford a decent
apartment at HUD’s estimated Fair Market Rent
(FMR), while spending no more than 30% of income on housing costs.”

Also, the term “decent apartment” is not defined. This esoteric definition allows the numbers to mean whatever the author wants it to mean.

Socialist Propaganda?

These numbers are all based upon a report that was generated by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. According to their website, “the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.”(emphasis added) In other words, they are part of the “Social Justice” movement.
In fact, the founder of the group was a woman named Cushing Dolbeare, a known communist. In 1974, she even sent a cablegram to the members of the Communist Coup in Portugal. This cablegram was a message of support from America’s Socialists. Ms. Dolbeare was a speaker for a workshop titled “Housing: The National Issue” at the 1979 Democratic Agenda Conference of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee.
Ms. Colbeare was also the vice President of the Independent Voters of Illinois- Independent Precinct Organization, a Socialist group of  “community organizers.” This is the same group of community organizers that included Democratic Socialists of America and Committees of Correspondence member Timuel Black, David Orr, Carol Moseley Braun, one time Communist Party USA member David Canter, and Barack Obama.

Calculating the numbers

According to Housing and Urban Development, a person who lives in Orange County, Florida MSA can expect to rent a one bedroom apartment for $836, on average. Since this is an average, one could expect to find apartments that are far below this figure. In fact, according to, apartments can be had for nearly half that amount in the Orlando MSA, with the lowest price for a one bedroom apartment coming in at $477 a month. That is just using, I am sure that there are cheaper apartments to be had.
How does HUD calculate the market rent? According to the HUD website, the rent used to calculate the FMR is the rate paid for a 40th percentile 2 bedroom apartment, meaning that 40% of the rents in the MSA will be lower than the one used to calculate the FMR. This figure is then ‘adjusted’ with a government formula, and the higher of the state average from the previous year or this figure is used.
Anyone who understands math can tell you two things about this method:
1 Nearly half of all apartments will rent for an amount below the FMR.
2 The FMR will be higher than the actual average, due to rounding and the fact that no FMR can be less than the state average.

Minimum Wage

A minimum wage is just that: The MINIMUM that a person will earn if hired to work in the United States. How, mathematically, can a person who is making the minimum wage expect to make enough money to afford an average apartment?
In Florida, the minimum wage is $8.05 an hour. A person making this wage would take home $1100 a  month.

Thirty percent, playing with the numbers

They claim that no one should pay more than 30% of their income towards rent. Where did the 30% number come from? Per 24 CFR Part 92.252, HUD provides the following maximum rent limits. The maximum HOME rents are the lesser of:

1. The fair market rent for existing housing for comparable units in the area as established by HUD under 24 CFR 888.111; or

2. A rent that does not exceed 30 percent of the adjusted income of a family whose annual income equals 65 percent of the median income for the area, as determined by HUD, with adjustments for number of bedrooms in the unit. The HOME rent limits provided by HUD will include average occupancy per unit and adjusted income assumptions.

Confusing, right? This 30% number is actually circular logic. Remember that adjustment HUD makes? The adjustment comes from this: The rent is adjusted to be 30% of the income that a FAMILY (not an individual) takes home, if that family were making 65% of the median. So if the median income for a working family in Orlando is more than $25,000 a year, the formula will ensure that an individual who is working a minimum wage job can never afford the calculated rent, because $25K times 65% is equal to $16,250. That number happens to be minimum wage.

The way that the math works out, there is no way for ANY minimum wage to EVER allow a person to rent an apartment using HUD’s numbers, unless the minimum wage is equal to the median wage. This is the essence of communism: everyone makes the same wage and pays the same bills.

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