A new study released today finds that Sacramento County workers need to earn more than twice today's minimum wage of $10 in order to afford to rent an average apartment.
The study says median rent in Sacramento County has gone up 13 percent since 2000 while median renter household income has gone down 13 percent, when adjusted for inflation.
"That's really a double-whammy, and that translates into a decline of purchasing power of over $6,700 annually," says Matt Schwartz who heads the California Housing Partnership, an affordable housing advocacy group that released the study.
He says the lowest income households now spend 62 percent of their income on housing costs. Schwartz says higher rents are pushing people out of places like downtown and midtown...
"...which are closer to jobs," says Schwartz. "It's making longer commutes, which are costing all of us time on the road."
He says the elimination of state Redevelopment agencies has reduced investment in affordable housing.
Affordable housing advocates say rising rents are creating a dire situation in Sacramento. Darryl Rutherford is with the Sacramento Housing Alliance, an affordable housing advocacy group.
"What we're seeing now is like downtown and midtown, these are really hot markets and rents are drastically increasing," says Rutherford. "It's really starting to price people out."
The California Housing Partnership study says Sacramento County renters need to earn $3,803 a month to afford the average monthly asking rent of $1,903.
"There's a lot of pressures put on this housing market," says Rutherford. "For one, there's not enough affordable or market-rate housing being built in general."
Affordable housing advocates are urging state lawmakers to approve a measure that would invest a billion dollars from the state's General Fund for affordable housing projects.
Critics say the state should emphasize easing regulations on homebuilding instead.