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California Rents Are Almost America's Worst

California Rents Are Almost America's Worst

Marco Gomes/Flickr

We know this is not exactly breaking news for you folks who put in half your monthly pay and then some just to be able to not have to sleep on the sidewalk.

But a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition says California is the second least affordable state in America for renters. We were beat out only by Hawaii and Washington, D.C., according to the analysis.

See also: Rent Continues to Rise in L.A.

The folks at the coalition say it takes a full-time wage of  $26.04 an hour to be able to afford an average, 2-bedroom apartment in the Golden State.

For Los Angeles that "housing wage" number jumps to $26.88, the group says. The average 2 bed costs $1,398, and it takes $55,920 a year to afford that, according to the data.

And keep in mind that the national median household (not individual, but mostly two-earner) income, the proverbial middle class figure that used to come with two cars, two kids and white picket fence, is $51,371.

For that much in L.A. you can live like a college student. Yay!

The report notes that L.A.'s own median income, at $60,600, is higher than the national average. But we asked coalition spokeswoman Sarah Brundage about that, and she agreed that the higher earners in this Hollywood-dominated town drag up our numbers, even when many everyday working Angelenos make much less.

"One-hundred percent we agree that the average renter wage ($26.88 an hour for L.A.) doesn't represent the people experiencing the most housing instability," she said. "Many renters fall below it."

She noted that 1 in 4 renters in California are "extremely low income," meaning that, for the Los Angeles area, they make $18,180 a year in household income or less. What those folks can afford in greater L.A., Brundage told us, is $455 a month in rent.

Ha!

See also: L.A.-Area Rents Skyrocketed 10 Percent This Year, Study Finds

The rich here seem to drag down L.A.'s ranking despite our sky-high rents. In fact the area ranked as the 21st most-expensive metro region in America for renters, Brundage said.

Nationwide, the "housing wage," what it takes just to get an average 2 bedroom place, "is more than two-and-a-half times the federal minimum wage," the coalition states. It found that ... 

 ... in no state can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom rental unit at the Fair Market Rent.

What to do?

-First, cut taxes on the wealthy. It will trickle down to us, as it has been.

-Second, keep minimum wage in California at $8 to protect jobs and the profits of multi-billion-dollar corporations. When private-jet-flying CEOs hurt, we all hurt.

-Third, give tax breaks to mega-rich media companies in Hollywood that import overpaid, out-of-state talent who then drive up our rents because, well, they can.

-Finally, ensure that the apartment owners (a.k.a. the Apartment Association Greater Los Angeles) have a much greater say at City Hall than renters do. They'll do what's just and right for all of L.A.

... We're just kideen! Exactly the opposite should happen.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.