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Vermont Has a Rental Problem, and It's Not Alone (and It's Not About Rent)

The NLIHC says a typical family with two wage earners would have to work a combined 86 hours per week at $8.60 an hour just to afford a basic two-bedroom apartment, which the group says is the "fair market value" for two-bedroom digs in the Green Mountain State.

A single renter needs to earn, on average, more than $18 an hour to rent the same modest two-bedroom apartment. But the average wage-earning renter in Vermont earns only about $11.60 an hour, the report says.

That doesn't include food, clothing, medical care, transportation and medical care, among other typical consumer financial obligations.

The NLIHC says it's not about singling out Vermont, although the state is the ninth-most expensive state in the union to live in, according to CNBC, trailing New York, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, Connecticut and Hawaii, among others. It's also the ninth-most expensive state in the union without major metropolitan areas to rent a home or an apartment.

The way out, the group says, is to readjust how its federal housing dollars are allocated.

"The federal government has used the tax code to make homeownership easier," says Sheila Crowley, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "In reality, though, the benefits are largely going to higher-income people with million-dollar homes. It's time to make housing policy work better for middle- and lower-income people by reforming mortgage interest tax breaks and directing the savings to the National Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve homes affordable to the lowest-income Americans."

For now, the NLIHC says that about two-thirds of Vermonters can't afford a decent two-bedroom apartment rental.

That situation isn't expected to end any time soon, likely leading some Vermonters to wonder what life is like in New Hampshire these days.
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