affordable housing

Jordan Cooper via Flickr

Teton County residents will vote in May whether to approve $70 million in revenue collected from a Special Purpose Excise Tax, or SPET. The tax would fund local infrastructure projects, including three housing developments meant to accommodate Jackson’s far-flung workforce. Two of the projects would provide housing for seasonal town and county employees.

Harvey Barrison via Flickr Creative Commons

About 150 tenants at the Virginian Village apartments in Jackson are struggling to find new places to live after being notified last week that they’re being kicked out of their homes. 

The property owners of Jackson’s Virginian Village apartments say tenants must be out by the end of July—and some must leave as soon as May 1. California-based Bedford Investments plans to remodel and sell the complex’s 56 units.

The Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of Commissioners agreed to a draft housing action plan for the community this week, following a 3-day summit.

The 80-page plan will need to be approved by a vote at a joint meeting November 2. Under the plan, the county and town will work together on housing issues with a joint Town-County Housing Director.

The Teton County Housing Authority will be restructured to allow for joint control with the town of Jackson. It will remain a quasi-governmental agency, but its scope and focus will be significantly reduced.

Cheyenne is severely lacking in affordable housing – and minorities and people with disabilities are feeling the squeeze the most. That’s according to a study released this week by the Cheyenne Community Development Office.

Federal housing authorities require a study like this every five years for cities to be eligible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants.

Jordan Giese

The Casper Housing Authority is wrapping up the first year of its Housing First Program. It was designed to give the chronically homeless places to live before tackling other issues like addiction and illness.

The program was started last March with 10 homes and 14 participants. Four of them have dropped out of the program, but nine people now have permanent housing and one has completely graduated from the program, and has moved into housing without assistance from the state.

Miles Bryan

If you move to Wyoming to work in oil or gas you probably know to expect long hours and a big paycheck. You might even know to expect to be sleeping in your car. Housing is a perennial issue in boomtowns, one that pits the needs of energy workers against the interests of long term residents and there’s no easy fix. 

Melodie Edwards

When you think of towns impacted by energy development, it usually involves transient workers, increased crime, and RV parks. Maybe not the most family oriented place. But plenty of oil and gas workers try to make it work, which could be just the cure for some of these social ills. The challenge is finding these families adequate housing. 

Jordan Cooper via Flickr

Construction of new affordable housing units in Riverton, Casper, and the Wind River Reservation will begin in next few months: courtesy of 2.8 million dollars in new funding for affordable housing recently allocated by the Wyoming Community Development Authority. The federal funds are distributed to developers as an incentive to build units that rent for less than two thirds of market price in the respective counties. Community Development Authority Director Gayle Brownlee says all kinds of people need housing help.

In the last few years demand for public housing assistance across the country has skyrocketed, while congressional funding has stayed flat. Right now federal funds covers less than a fourth of families in the United States eligible for a Section 8 housing voucher. Waitlists for voucher in big cities are often years long, if not closed all together. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan reports that made small cities like Cheyenne more attractive to those seeking housing aid, because of shorter wait times.

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A new report out from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information shows that the state continues to do well economically, but housing costs are rising in several counties. Converse County has had a twenty percent increase in both apartment rent and house payments. Teton continues to be the most expensive county to live in comparatively.

Amy Bittner is a senior economist with the department and says the state overall is doing well.

Miles Bryan

The town of Jackson has long struggled to find enough affordable housing for its seasonal workers. Right now, the average rental property there is going for 2800 dollars a month. But lately, the popularity of house sharing websites have transformed the housing problem into a housing crisis. And that’s got local business owners looking in new places for their for seasonal hires.

It's midmorning at a campsite just outside of Jackson and Christen Johnson is setting up her camp stove for a cup of coffee before work--”it came with the van,” she tells me.

Car camping for one night might soon be legal within Jackson Hole, according to proposed changes to the city’s camping ordinance.

The municipal camping rules are designed to keep public areas clear and campers safe. The original law, however, does not offer any flexibility to motorists who want to stay in their vehicle for a night.

Councilman Jim Stanford says that the city needs this flexibility, however, to accommodate a growing seasonal workforce coupled with a housing shortage in Jackson Hole.  

Jordan Giese

As the Oil City Casper has seen its fate is closely tied with the energy industry and the recent boom in production is seeing Casper's population expand at an astounding rate. One thing not expanding fast enough however is affordable housing. Wyoming Public Radio's Jordan Giese reports.

JORDAN GIESE: Despite new commercial development one thing in Casper you'll struggle to find are for-sale and rent signs. With all the new energy work, people have poured into Casper, sometimes leaving little for the residents already there.