GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) — $19 an hour is what renters need to earn in South Carolina to afford a two-bedroom home. This means that someone earning minimum wage would have to work 91 hours a week.

These statistics come from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s latest “Out Of Reach” report. The report found that the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley area is ranked number 5 for most expensive places to live in the state. Because it’s so expensive, low-income renters have a much harder time finding affordable housing. It’s a problem that local nonprofits are also seeing.

“You almost feel stuck. I mean, there were times when I didn’t think we were going to make it,” Natalia Mayley said.

In a few months, Natalia Mayley and her 5 children will move into their new home.

the reality that seemed almost impossible a few years ago. It all started when she left a toxic relationship.

“So when I left, we had nowhere to go. I received no financial aid. I received no alimony. We really had nothing,” she said.

Mayley only made $15 an hour and with 5 young children to support, finding a home was more than difficult.

“There always seems to be a roadblock in the road,” Mayley said.

Then she called United Ministries for help.

“For all of the participants we serve, affordable housing is something we encounter at every turn,” said Susan Midgett, United Ministries Volunteer Manager.

The 2022 “Out Of Reach” report shows that a low-income worker in the Greenville area would need to earn $19 an hour to pay rent for an average 2-bedroom house. The average state minimum wage is $15.

Not only are the costs high, but the availability is low.

“I think as our city changes and grows, and we find ourselves more and more in the top 10 lists, there is also a subset of our population that has forgotten about those who could live on an income. fixed,” Midgett said.

HUD standards say a fair rental price for a two-bedroom apartment in the county is $992.

“It’s getting harder and harder,” Midgett said.

United Ministries helps people like Mayley find temporary housing, find housing, and then keep it.

“They taught me ways to stretch my money, how to prioritize things better,” said Mayley, who attends the United Ministries housing program.

The nonprofit says the phone keeps ringing.

“There’s a whole group within our community who are struggling to make ends meet and who have never had to contact us before,” Midgett said.

If you need help with rent, utilities, or housing, you can contact United Ministries weekdays at (864) 232-6463. Additionally, United Way of Greenville also has a rental assistance program, you can call their hotline by dialing 211.

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