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Affordable Living crisis

Posted: April 28, 2013 - 12:09am

In the Juneau Empire today (April 26), I read about a 2-bedroom home for rent for $2000, first and last, plus utilities (heat $150, electricity $150, Cable $99, Telephone $45, Internet $99, garbage $75). Another 3-bedroom, $2,100, $2,500 deposit, $400 a month estimated utilities. Craigslist offered a 3-bedroom at $2200 a month, 1 bedroom, 1 bath $1,450. There were four homes available for rent.

Now let’s do the math. Monthly costs for the $2000 a month unit is $2,468 plus $2000 deposit, the 3 bedroom is $2,618 + $2,500 deposit, Craigslist 3-bedroom $2,720 a month plus $2,200 deposit. According to Alaska Department of Labor research and analysis, the average monthly wage in Juneau is $3,766. For the person who is paying $2,518 a month that is equal to 66 percent of their gross wages. If you take out 25 percent for withholdings, that leaves $2,824 leaving $306 for food, fuel (car), incidentals and insurance. This just doesn’t work.

Thirty-two percent of Juneau’s workforce earns less than $20,000 a year. This does not even cover renting a house in Juneau. Even the $1,450 a month for the 1-bedroom with utilities would cost an individual $2,118 a month or $25,416, 25 percent more than they earn. 

Juneau has 27 3-bedroom homes for sale ranging from $248,000 to $640,000. Yet, 70 percent of all working resident earn less than $50,000 a year. If a bank will loan you up to 2.5 times your income, that is $150,000 — there are no single family homes for $150,000. I read in the Empire that there is a housing committee and a Planning Commission that is dealing with or looking at our housing crisis. However, just ask someone who cannot afford to save a dime because they are paying outrageous rent how bad our housing crisis is.

Myrna Gardner

Juneau

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