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Study: Maine Renters Need to Earn Over $17 Per Hour to Afford Modest Apartment

In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rates in Maine, renters would need to earn just over $17 an hour, and in parts of the state the so-called housing wage would be much higher.

That’s according to the National Low Income Housing Coaltion’s annual “Out of Reach” report. Among its findings, the study indicates that the typical renter in Maine earns almost $7 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom home.

Greg Payne, director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coaltion, says the report shows there’s what he calls an “incredibly difficult mismatch” between the housing needed in Maine and what’s available.

“We need local, state, federal officials to work together to address the issue to try to create the affordable housing that our seniors need, that our low-income earners need, that folks with disabilities need,” he says. “I think when we get to a point where in some sections of our state people have to be working over 100 hours at our minimum wage in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment, I think we have a problem.”

Payne says the figures compiled by the Low Income Housing Coalition come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the census.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.