housing

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. 

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.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded two grants of $1.4 million and $2 million to Wyoming to prevent homelessness among veterans.

Announced Monday, the grant will fund services provided by the Southwest Wyoming Recovery Access Program, or SW-WRAP, like housing counseling, legal assistance, temporary financial assistance, and childcare for veterans and their families.

Cathie Hughes, founder and CEO of SW-WRAP, said that making these services visible is one of the biggest challenges.  

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.

When there’s an energy boom, it usually brings an influx of workers into the area. And that leads to more demand for housing. That’s great for landlords who are looking to rent out their properties. But as some communities in Wyoming are finding, oil and gas drilling can actually be a problem for people who are looking to sell. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

WILLOW BELDEN: Rhonda Holdbrook owns a real estate firm in Douglas, and she’s exceptionally busy these days. Oil production in Converse County is booming, and energy workers have flocked to town.

Wind River Reservation

A report by the Government Accountability Office says some things need to change in order for Indian tribes to be able to effectively carry out affordable housing activities under the Indian Housing Block Grant program. The program provides grants to tribes to build affordable housing. Remoteness of reservations and lack of infrastructure was one major challenge the report identified. But lack of coordination among federal agencies also delays initiatives and makes it harder to lump funds from various agencies for one project.

The housing market in Jackson Hole is booming, and it’s getting even more expensive to live there.

Last week, the Jackson Town Council decided to buy an apartment building to house town employees, so they could afford to live in the area. That makes it 15 housing properties the town will own.