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Report Shows Affordable Housing Is Out Of Reach For Many In Jacksonville

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Bill Bortzfield
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WJCT News
Construction is pictured in 2017 at The Lofts at Lavilla, which has since opened. The Lofts is a 132-unit mixed-income apartment complex across from the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released its annual Out of Reach report, and it shows how affordable housing really is “out of reach” for millions of low-wage workers, seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and other low-income households.

In Florida, a minimum wage worker would have to work more than 80 hours a week, just to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment that rents for about $800 dollars a month.

“A one-bedroom apartment here is about $775. Which is a little lower than the state average, but still unaffordable for someone working a minimum wage job,” said Shannon Nazworth, president and CEO of Ability Housing.

Nazworth said Florida’s aging population, plus its large numbers of low wage workers, means the state needs to move to find more affordable housing solutions, because the problem is expected to get worse over time.

In Florida the minimum wage is $8.25 per hour.  According to the Out of Reach report, an annual wage of $37,880 is needed to reasonably afford the cost of an average two-bedroom apartment in Jacksonville.

What follows is a breakdown looking at how rents stack up in Jacksonville as compared to Florida on average.

The housing wage on the left hand side of this chart from the Out of Reach report is defined as the hourly wage needed to afford an apartment.  

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Credit Out Of Reach Report
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Credit Out of Reach
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Melissa Ross can be reached at mross@wjct.org, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.