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State's high cost highlighted in new report

Vermonters who rent live in the fifteenth least affordable state in the nation, according to a new report jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based housing advocacy group, and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

For Vermont's renters, the news isn't good. Rural Vermont ranks in the top 10 most expensive rural areas in the nation.

The report, Out of Reach 2010, provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country, comparing 52 jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. A Vermont fact sheet is attached.

The typical renter in Vermont earns $11.28, which is $6.42 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit. A worker making the minimum wage ($8.06/hour in Vermont) can only afford to pay $419 a month for rent and utilities, less than half the cost of a modest two-bedroom apartment. Working at the minimum wage, a family must have 2.2 wage earners working full-time - or one full-time earner working 88 hours/week - to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

An estimated 55 percent of renters in Vermont do not earn enough income to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent, a two percentage point increase from last year.

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