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A new report finds New Jersey renters continue to find themselves overwhelmed and underpaid.

The report finds Jersey rentals on average are the fourth-most expensive in the nation, requiring an average household wage of just over 51-thousand dollars annually for a modest, two-bedroom unit. According to the report, the Housing Wage for New Jersey is $24.54 making the state the fourth most expensive in the nation, excluding Washington, DC. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn - working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year - to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market. New Jersey's Housing Wage has increased 56% since 2000.

Arnold Cohen of the Housing Community Development Network of New Jersey says this situation did not occur suddenly. He says it has really been a slow, steady increase in rising rents. Cohen says it makes sense if you just look at the increase in costs incurred by Jersey landlords.

Cohen says New Jersey needs more good-paying jobs, not just minimum wage service sector employment, and Trenton and Washington to help with housing assistance.

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