Last Updated on January 30, 2023
A pdf of the above image is available at https://friendsoftheunsheltered.org/wp-content/uploads/Rents-in-Clatsop-County.pdf.
During the February 13, 2023 Seaside City Council meeting Rick Bowers described this slide during the public comment period. Here is the link (opens in new window): https://www.youtube.com/live/NXPp3l1Dv9c?&t=4519
I, Rick Bowers, want to share some information I tracked down that helped me to understand the plight of low- and fixed-income folks trying to find housing. I think we all know housing in general is expensive… I just wanted to see some examples for myself and that’s what I’m sharing.
I talk about retail apartment rents…; I’m NOT criticizing landlords. I’m just trying to share the plight of the low-income.
I found the incomes of four categories of renters:
- Fulltime minimum wage
- And three programs managed by the Social Security Administration – a Retiree getting Social Security (AVERAGE)
- Social Security Disability Income, SSDI (AVERAGE)
- Supplemental Security Income, SSI (MAXIMUM)
HUD recommends we spend under 30% of our gross income on rent… including utilities.
HUD considers a person RENT BURDENED if they spend 50% or more on rent.
I calculated the 30% and 50% for the four categories.
Then I looked at retail rents for studio and 1-bedroom apartments. I looked at the usual places: apartments.com, other websites, social media, and craig’s list.
The only person in these four categories who can afford an apartment is a fulltime minimum wage earner and he would be in a studio apartment and RENT BURDENED. Many potential landlords look for an income 3 times the rent so some landlords would not rent to this person even if he was willing to be RENT BURDENED.
None of the folks in the programs managed by the Social Security Administration can afford a current retail rate apartment.
- Housing & Urban Development (HUD) considers “affordable rent” to be within 30% of the renter’s gross income (before taxes). The 30% includes rent and all utilities (except for telephone).
- HUD considers an individual (or a family) to be “rent burdened” if rent is more than 50% of the gross income.
- HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR) is based on questionnaires sent yearly from the Census Bureau. FMR reflects what existing renters are currently paying. FMR does not represent currently advertised “For Rent” pricing.
- Four categories of renters were considered: All incomes are gross (before taxes) for 2022.
- Full-time Minimum wage in Clatsop County: $13.50/hr ($2,340/month)
- Social Security retirees: $1,676.53 average
- Social Security Disability Insurance – SSDI: $1,364.41 average
- Supplemental Security Income – SSI: $841 maximum (average $601)
- Of these four groups, only the full-time minimum wage rent burdened worker can afford a currently advertised studio apartment (Nov 2022) in the county.
- Clatsop Community Actions maintains a list of affordable housing at https://ccaservices.org/housing/housing-list/. None of the complexes that have been contacted have a vacancy. One representative said they don’t maintain a waiting list because they haven’t had a vacancy in years. A personal friend was on the Gateway waiting list for five years before being accepted.
- Some landlords require showing proof of income that is three times the rent. In these situations even if the potential renters are willing to be rent burdened (50%) they would not qualify for the apartment.
- At least one retail property listing limits the maximum stay to 11½ months. It’s my understanding that Oregon law differentiates between one year and longer rentals. See ORS 90.427 Termination of tenancy without tenant cause at https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_90.427.
- If single individuals join together to rent a 2-bedroom apartment, some landlords require each individual to show proof of income that is three times the total rent.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Fair Market Rent for 2022: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/fmr.html#2022.
Retiree (average monthly): https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/.
SSDI (average monthly): https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/.
SSI (maximum monthly): https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-benefits-ussi.htm.
“The major difference is that SSI determination is based on age/disability and limited income and resources, whereas SSDI determination is based on disability and work credits.” See https://ncoa.org/article/ssi-vs-ssdi-what-are-these-benefits-how-they-differ.
Clatsop Community Action
Affordable Housing List: https://ccaservices.org/docs/housing/Affordable_Housing_List_04-16-2021.pdf.
Retail “For Rent” in Clatsop County (reviewed listings Nov 25-30, 2022)
Facebook’s Astoria (Oregon) Area Rental Resource Group (Aarg!): https://www.facebook.com/groups/426925654024995.
Cost of Utilities: