TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Rent prices are high. They’re also rising. While wages have started to rise, how much you need to earn to afford a place to live in Tampa and across the country has gone up faster than earnings.
In 2021, Florida’s minimum wage workers needed to be on the clock for more than 90 hours per week to afford Fair Market Rent on a one-bedroom apartment.
At the time, the minimum wage in the state was $8.65 per hour, a full $1.40 higher than the federal requirement. Basically, they had to be working about 2.3 full-time jobs to afford a place to live on their own, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That was when the Fair Market Rent for a one-bedroom in Florida was $1,049.
The NLIHC’s “Out of Reach” report for 2021 found that the average Florida worker would have to work 93 hours per week to afford an apartment in Florida. In Tampa, at just slightly less than the state average, you’d have to work about 92 hours.
Florida’s minimum wage was increased to $10 on Sept. 30, 2021.
The 2022 FMR for a one-bedroom apartment in the Tampa area is estimated at $1,110 by HUD. That price is for the whole of the Tampa metro area.
WFLA.com was able to estimate the hours and costs for renters based on current state FMRs, minimum wages, and costs in Tampa.
To afford an apartment at FMR, the average resident would need to work just over 85 hours to afford a one-bedroom apartment at the current state minimum wage.
But the current FMR in Tampa is hundreds of dollars lower than the average rent in the area.
In the Tampa metro area, the average rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,750, according to the same data set.
At that rental cost, the current for May 2022, a Tampa worker earning minimum wage would need to work 3.3 full-time jobs to afford rent. Their yearly income would need to be roughly $70,000.
As of April 2022, the average worker in the Tampa metro area was earning $29.71 per hour, or $1,036 per week, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. That adds up to about $53,872 per year.
Those wage levels are for the employed, average worker who doesn’t receive any assistance benefits from state or federal programs.
When it comes to providing for the vulnerable, the government systems for paying rent may be behind on funding levels. The programs that pay monthly for the disabled, veterans, some retirees, and those living in extreme poverty have not kept up with the rising costs of an apartment, based on rental costs in cities, and what the federal government calculates is needed.
Typically this type of assistance, for housing, is provided by a voucher. Depending on the circumstances, the voucher comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, or through a more localized municipal organization administering the funds on behalf of the federal government.
Assistance from HUD is used to provide housing to “the working poor, minorities, Native Americans, people with disabilities, people with AIDS, the elderly, the homeless.” For U.S. military veterans receiving assistance for housing, there’s a separate program operated by both HUD and the VA called HUD-VASH to provide funding to former soldiers.
Beneficiaries receive their benefits off of FMR calculations by the federal government.
According to HUD’s FMR data, Tampa renters will only receive $1,110 in funding for vouchers to pay for a one-bedroom apartment, meaning the recipients are still on the hook for at least $640 per month, plus whatever their costs are for other expenses, such as utilities, food, clothes, a phone, etcetera.