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Military Job Training Not Enough To Afford Housing, Report Finds

The military works with the Department of Labor to train veterans who are heading back into the work force. Problem is, many of the jobs they are trained for don’t pay enough to cover San Diego’s housing costs.

That’s according to a new report from the nonprofit Center for Housing Policy. It publishes a “Paycheck to Paycheck” report every year to monitor the cost of housing in U.S. cities. This year, the report also looked at housing issues among veterans, including those in San Diego.

Aired 7/16/12 on KPBS News.

The military works with the Department of Labor to train veterans who are heading back into the work force. Problem is, many of the jobs they are trained for don’t pay enough to cover San Diego’s housing costs.

A house near downtown San Diego.
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Above: A house near downtown San Diego.

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Returning Veterans’ Ability to Afford Housing in San Diego County

Returning Veterans’ Ability to Afford Housing in San Diego County

A report on the affordability of housing for ...

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It studied five of the jobs targeted by Department of Labor training programs for military veterans—carpenters, dental assistants, electricians, firefighters and truck drivers— and compared their wages to the prices of both houses and apartments.

The report found that none of the jobs paid the $84,000 salary needed to afford a median priced home in San Diego County. In 2012, median home price was $298,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Two of the jobs, carpenter and electrician, paid enough to make a one-bedroom apartment affordable, but none paid enough to cover a two-bedroom apartment. The report calculated one-bedroom rent at $1,126 a month and two-bedroom rent at $1,378 a month in San Diego County, using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What’s more, the salary used by the report reflects workers with a few years experience, not entry-level employees, so the numbers might be worse for veterans new to the civilian workforce.

Susan Riggs Tinsky, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation, said the report highlights an affordable housing problem in San Diego County.

“In the case of San Diego, for both the median home price and the apartment price, those employment sectors are not paying enough to support the housing costs for these returning veterans,” she said.

Tinsky said San Diego County has more recently returning veterans than any other county in the United States. She also said housing is essential to helping these veterans readjust to society.

“They’re having a harder time integrating, and so when the cost of housing becomes a barrier to these veterans, then that really is a domino effect for these folks in terms of integrating back into society,” she said. “If they don’t have stable housing, it’s harder to maintain a job, it’s harder to get job training, it’s hard to maintain relationships, and so it really becomes a difficult situation.”

She added that San Diego County has the second highest percentage of veterans of any county in the country and said 28 percent of San Diego’s homeless population are veterans.

Tinsky said the report points out that the government may need to be training veterans for different jobs, but said San Diego County should also work to ensure it provides rent subsidies and builds affordable housing for veterans.

The Department of Labor and the VA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Brat77'

Brat77 | July 16, 2012 at 1:19 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

With all due respect, we all have this problem in San Diego, not just the military. 3 marketable higher degrees between us, no children and still renting an apartment. Coveted cities such as San Diego are worse but it seems that we have a national problem with pay versus cost of living.

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