Market rate housing in Massachusetts is among the most expensive in the country; Essex County one of the most costly counties.

Many wages – earned by many of those people on whom we rely every day – are simply not enough. It is very likely a family member or friend, someone you rely on, or perhaps even you, needs housing that is more affordable.

What is “affordable”? Let’s define it. Housing that is affordable means that the household pays 30% of income to rent. For example, if you earn People who need affordable housing come from all walks of life – they may be nursing assistants, EMTs, firefighters, maintenance workers, landscape workers, home health aides, day care workers, those who wait on tables – essentially, many people we depend on daily. Yet, these important positions do not pay a livable wage. HCP is committed to serving all residents of our region in a way that recognizes each person’s right to housing.


  • Massachusetts Minimum Wage: $12
  • Fair Market Rent for a Two-Bedroom: $1,758
  • Fair Market Rent for a One-bedroom: $1,425
  • Housing Wage Needed to Afford a 2-bedroom: $33.81
    (A Housing Wage is the hourly wage needed to afford a modest rental home at Fair Market Rent.)
  • Average Renter Hourly Wage in MA: $20.72
  • Annual Income Needed to Afford a Two-Bedroom: $87,760
  • Annual Income Needed to Afford a Three-Bedroom: $109,960

For those earning minimum wage:

  • 141 Work hours per week needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment (3.5 full-time jobs)
  • Over 50% of Renter Households in MA are Cost Burdened (paying more than 30% of income for rent)
  • There are only 60 units per every 100 households living at 50% below Area Median Income

Source: National Low income Housing Coalition: Out of Reach 2019 and The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes 2019

What Can You Do?

There are many ways you can help. Here’s a quick list: Be a Housing Advocate in your community! Learn More About Housing & Housing History: Route 128: Boston’s Road to...