Business Council housing report sets stage for statewide plan

Thursday, December 07, 2017

newly released report from the Wyoming Business Council offers a comprehensive look at factors affecting affordable and available housing in all 23 counties.

The work sets a baseline and provides counties with hard data to begin finding new ways to address the different housing problems facing each county. Housing experts will parlay this report into a statewide housing plan to develop strategies to improve access to adequate shelter across Wyoming.

Housing costs above 30 percent of a family’s income are considered unaffordable by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency.

“Housing problems are a long-term issue across the state of Wyoming,” said Kim Porter, community initiatives director for the Wyoming Business Council. “The problem is too big for any one community to tackle by itself.”

As a largely rural state, Porters says Wyoming doesn’t fit into the uniform funding solutions created by the federal government, so it’s up to the state and its public-private partners to create its own solutions.

As the state’s economic development agency, the Business Council has partnered with the Wyoming Community Development Authority, the Wyoming Housing Network, the Wyoming Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Wyoming Real Estate Commission, the Wyoming Realtors Association, the University of Wyoming, US Housing and Urban Development, Wyoming Family Home Ownership Program, USDA Rural Development and the Wyoming Volunteers of America to dismantle the hurdles keeping some Wyomingites from finding adequate housing at a reasonable cost.

“This is the first time all these partners are working together,” Porter said.

The hurdles are different in every county, but some common trends have emerged from the data.

Campbell, Natrona, Fremont, Laramie and Teton counties all struggle with tight, expensive real estate markets. That may be related to the transient nature of some of the major employers in the region – the military in Laramie County, the hospitality industry in Teton County and extraction in the other counties.

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