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Low-income families still paying too much for rent

In the past three years, the Twin Cities rental vacancy rate has dropped from seven to about four percent, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Average monthly rents during the same time period have increased by more than $25, rising to a total of over $850.

The number of low-wage workers in the Twin Cities continues to increase, new information shows. The Wilder Foundation, a St. Paul based social service and research organization, believes the number in some areas will actually double.

Researchers at the Wilder Foundation discovered that the number of people paying too much for rent or owner occupied housing will double by 2010 from 70,000 to around 140,000.

"Low wage workers are spending too much on housing, " said Michael Dahl, the executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.

Dahl says a partial solution to the problem would be the federal government to reverse course on housing policy and supply increased funds for rental assistance including money for working families.

In the Twin Cities, the wait for section 8 housing can be as long as 10 years.