Affordable Housing Needs | VideoAlex Hagan | 7/11/2012
Alex Hagan tells us about a new housing development in Dickinson and what exactly qualifies as affordable housing.
The addition of Prairie Hills Townhomes is helping fill a critical need in Dickinson.
"If we don`t have affordable housing for the workforce, we`re not going to have a workforce. The oilfield workers have housing, because they can afford it," said Dickinson resident Mark Penna.
State leaders say the houses are just a small step in the right direction.
"It`s so important that we have access to affordable and quality housing for the long term success of a community to provide housing for the base, the service sector jobs," said USDA Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider.
With so many people coming to town to work in the oil patch, contractors tend to forget about the people working in other industries who can`t afford the higher rates.
"We have people in the service industry, hospitality, retail, and these industries don`t compensate those people near the levels the oil industry does," said Dickinson mayor Dennis Johnson.
The affordable housing issue also brings up the question of what affordable housing is in a booming city like Dickinson.
"The goal is to try to limit the households income or their housing cost as no more than 30 percent of their income depending on the income level of the household affordablility levels for rents or house payments will vary," said North Dakota Housing Finance Agency Executive Director Mike Anderson.
Contractors would like to focus more on that price range when it comes to building housing.
"There are lots of special needs when your working with governmental agencies and fair housing for everyone," Veronica Nicla with MetroPlains Management, LLC.
City leaders hope that the new townhomes are the first of many coming to town.
The new townhomes consist of two-and three-bedroom units. The total construction cost was $5.8 million.