Civil Legal Counsel Project Program Evaluation: Rental Cost in DC

In the past several years, DC has seen a surge in development and, with it, rising housing costs and wide-spread gentrification that is displacing many low-income residents. In its 2021 publication of the annual Out of Reach report, the National Low Income Housing Coalition ranked the District of Columbia as the fifth most expensive jurisdiction (compared to states) in the nation with regard to rental housing wages.

In 2021, the Fair Market Rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in DC was $1,765 per month. For a household to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent and not spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing, the household must earn $70,600 annually (or $5,883 monthly). To achieve that salary, working a 40-hour work week for 52 weeks per year, a person would have to earn $33.94 per hour. DC’s current minimum wage is $15.20 per hour. (Read the full evaluation report for more information.)

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The American Bar Association Resource Center for Access To Justice Initiatives has collected legal aid funding data from all 50 states since 2003. Washington, DC has historically not been included in