affordable housing

Housing prices are still on the rise in the Mountain West, and so is the cost renting. That's according to the latest housing report from Zillow.


Courtesy Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust

Teton County has long been the wealthiest area of Wyoming, but the median household income for a family of four just cracked $100,000 for the first time in 2018, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Flickr Creative Commons/Lynette

A program that helps victims of domestic violence is increasingly having trouble finding safe places for people to stay because of an energy boom that has filled all the housing options in the area. Converse Hope Center Director Lisa Thalken said recently, when a woman sought their help, they couldn't find anywhere to put her.

StoryCorps

As a chef for a Jackson Hole outfitter, Christine Semrow struggled to find an affordable place to live in Jackson.

When StoryCorps came to Jackson in 2018, Semrow sat down with StoryCorps facilitator Madison Mullen to talk about what it’s like to be part of the 99-percent in Jackson.

StoryCorps

When StoryCorps came to Jackson last summer, friends Stephanie Thomas and Carrie Krose sat down to discuss how the affordable housing shortage in Jackson is affecting children. 

StoryCorps

When StoryCorps came to Jackson last summer, friends Arne Jorgensen and Anne Cresswell discussed the lack of concern for affordable housing in their community.

Melodie Edwards

It's freezing outside as Terry Short smokes a cigarette under a hotel's awning near downtown Douglas. He's wearing a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt, his hometown team.

"For the most part it's as nice little sleepy town that you know generally doesn't have a whole lot of chaos," Short said.

Short is an oil field worker for a company called Gunslinger. Today is his day off, but normally he would be out in the field doing inspections or survey work. Short is far from the only worker of his kind in the area. He said folks get a daily per diem from companies to live on. The housing strategies are diverse and often focused on saving. 

Melodie Edwards

This story is part of a two-part series on the effects of the Converse County energy boom on housing in Douglas. 

I knock on the door of an apartment in the one and only income-restricted apartment complex in Douglas. 29-year-old Elise shows me in. Petite with long dark hair and a friendly smile, she gives me a tour of the small apartment she shares with her two children. We're not using her last name to protect her from retaliation. I notice a sign on the living room wall that says, "Home Sweet Home," and for Elise, a home has never been so sweet as this one. About eighteen months ago, Elise left an abusive relationship with her children's father.

National Park Service

Yellowstone National Park may add more seasonal housing for their employees and is seeking public comment on a proposal. This comes after Yellowstone Lodges built five new lodging facilities in Canyon Village, which increased the guest capacity to about 2,200 people per night.

StoryCorps

Jackson is the most economically unequal city in the U.S. That's according to the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank. A study found in 2016 that the income gap between the bottom 99 percent and the top one percent is widest in Jackson.

That makes affordable housing challenging. When StoryCorps came to Jackson in June, friends Marcela Badillo and Cristina Briones sat down to talk about what that means for immigrant families. 

The Modern West 40: More People, Less Affordable Housing

Nov 20, 2018
Bob Beck

The Mountain West's population boom is putting a squeeze on affordable housing. What's being done address the issue?

Our region is home to some of the hottest housing markets in the country but that trend may slowing down. 

Darrah Perez

Nationally, there’s a shortage of about 68,000 homes on tribal reservations, and on the Wind River Reservation, both the Northern Arapaho and the Eastern Shoshone tribes are hundreds of homes short. That’s led to severe overcrowding and homelessness there.

Caroline Ballard

Walk around Jackson this summer, and you can expect to see a few things: lots of people, lots of traffic, and lots of help wanted signs.

StoryCorps: Rory And Primm Loudenslager

Jun 27, 2018
StoryCorps

Lorelei "Rory" Loudenslager (7) talks to her mom Primm Loudenslager (32) about their old apartment, their new Habitat for Humanity House, the building process, and favorite things she likes to do, play, and learn. 

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson's recent proposal to triple rent for the lowest income households is part of what’s being called "Welfare Reform 2.0." This change to federal assistance could have a big impact on our growing region.

mobile homes in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Bob Beck

Cheyenne’s local government has been putting a lot of work behind its Fight the Blight campaign to address a number of abandoned houses and run-down buildings. But efforts to clean those places up have indicated another problem—a lack of affordable housing. 

 

Soon after Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr took office in 2017, she formed the Fight the Blight committee. 

 

Sign for Guernsey, Wyoming
Maggie Mullen


What do you get when three ranchers, a school teacher, a real estate agent, and one community development coordinator walk into a bank? In Guernsey, Wyoming—a possible solution to the affordable housing problem that’s plaguing many parts of the nation, including the Mountain West.

Laramie County Community Partnership

Next fall, the Strong Families Action Team in Laramie County is hoping to open a new homeless shelter for young people. Action Team Co-Chairman Terry Williams said the goal is to provide shelter for K-12 students who either have nowhere to live or have an unsafe home life.

During a recent homeless count in Cheyenne, 39 unaccompanied K-12 students were identified. When surveyed, Williams said they wanted somewhere to live, so that they can complete their education.

Wyoming's outdated housing stock needs replacing, but resources to make that happen are limited. That's left most counties in the state in need of more low-income housing, according to a new Wyoming Business Council report

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.

commons.wikimedia.org

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.

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