May 26, 2016


CONTACT: Greg Payne, Director; (207)245-3341;


New Report Details Lack of Affordable Homes Available in Maine, Nationwide


In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in Maine, renters need to earn $17.04 per hour. This is Maine’s 2016 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released yesterday. The report, Out of Reach 2016, was released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization.


Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value. The typical renter in Maine earns $10.36 per hour, $6.68 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest 2-bedroom home.


The housing wage is even higher in certain parts of the state: $23.00 in the York-Kittery South Berwick area and $21.33 in the Portland area.


“This report highlights the deep and widening mismatch between Maine’s housing supply and housing needs. We need leaders at the local, state and federal levels to work together to find solutions, especially for vulnerable seniors and low-wage workers,” said Greg Payne, Director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition.


A general obligation bond that would help create at least 225 affordable homes for low income seniors statewide was passed with broad bipartisan support in the 127th Maine Legislature and approved by nearly 70% of Maine voters last November, but still has not been released by Governor Paul LePage.


Working at the minimum wage of $7.50 in Maine, a family must have 2.3 wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 91 hours per week, to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. A referendum appearing on this coming November’s ballot will ask Mainers to consider increasing the state minimum wage on an incremental basis until it reaches $12.00 per hour in 2020, at which point additional increases would be tied to the cost of living.


“The Out of Reach data reflect a grim reality across the nation. There is no place in the United States where a minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “We as a nation must respond by investing in affordable housing for the lowest income households in America. The new National Housing Trust Fund is one solution, but it will require many more resources to address the need.”


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