Last summer, I was faced with a conundrum. My girlfriend - who I cohabitated with - had accepted a job offer in the Twin Cities that required her to relocate from Brainerd. I liked the job I had at the time, and I lived close enough to my kid's mother that we could share physical custody without extra effort.

The job I had - despite being the best-paying job of my life - STILL didn't pay enough to afford a decent apartment on my own. I needed a two-bedroom, at minimum. Nothing available was below half of my paycheck per month in rent. A study has found that I'm not alone.

12 Million Americans Spend Half of Their Paychecks on Rent

The righteous jerkfaces are already howling about how I should just get a job that pays well and not just a job I like. Not only did I like that job, it paid enough to put me into (lower) middle class. In BRAINERD, I still couldn't afford an apartment for my kid & me that wasn't an absolute rat hole, and even the rat holes were over the "30% rule".

As a result, I packed up and moved to the cities with my girlfriend (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). Commuting from the cities to Brainerd and back every day was out of the question. Baxter just happened to be near retirement, so I applied and got re-hired here.

So if you can't stand me on The Loon Morning Show, blame Brainerd and the ridiculous cost of housing.

Housing Wage

The National Low Income Housing Coalition calculated the nation's "Housing Wage"; the amount a worker has to make to afford a rental without exceeding 30% of the income on housing. In 2022 (the most recently studied year), the national "Housing Wage" was $25.82 per hour. Salary-wise, that's $53,705.60 per year.

That's not "affordable housing".

The smirk on the landlord's face when he doubles rent and blames it on "the market" (Photo by Foto Sushi on Unsplash)
The smirk on the landlord's face when he doubles rent and blames it on "the market" (Photo by Foto Sushi on Unsplash)
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Spending over half of your paycheck on rent and utilities classifies you as a "severely cost-burdened household".

"It's definitely worse than it's ever been. Middle-class people, lower-middle-class people, working-class people, they cannot afford their rent." ~ Cea Weaver, a Housing Justice for All campaign coordinator in an interview with the New York Times

Why Is Rent So High?

A few factors are involved.

  1. Rising cost of materials to build more housing
  2. Very low supply of available rentals
  3. Rich Jerkfaces buying up housing and raising rent
  4. EVERYTHING IS TOO EXPENSIVE
Hofstra University Hosts New York Gubernatorial Debate
If you recognize this guy, you're rent is too damn high (Getty Images)
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H/T: Business Insider

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