What’s restricting Wyoming housing?

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 2:08 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Continuing our look at the state’s ongoing housing issue or lack thereof.

We spoke with some officials about the latest update on housing and what we can expect.

Wyoming is taking a two-pronged approach to tackling the housing issue.

This looks like a state and municipal housing task force or committee.

The State Housing Task Force meets monthly, working with Wyoming Commissioners, municipalities, housing authorities, business councils, and more.

They are finding one of the problems lies with zoning regulations.

”We have too much regulation at the local level, and how we can change some of that to make the cost less and make it easier for developers to come in and build homes at a lower price point that affordable and attainable  to the workforce,” Scott Hoversland, Executive Director, Wyoming Community Development Authority.

Hoverland said during the last legislative session, they secured about 10 million through ARPA to work on housing and general infrastructure.

The WCDA says they are doing housing needs assessment statewide.

”Its not a single area its not a Cheyenne, Casper, Jackson problem it’s everywhere; small or large cites are just having problem you know, with housing. Getting more people in for both workforce and for already the people that are living there,” said Hoversland.

The City of Cheyenne Planning and Development has said that are about two thousand housing unit projects in the works.

But there are housing units that sit vacant due to high rental costs.

”One of the things the city can do is lessen regulations or make regulations less onerous for new construction and then hopefully the principals of supply and demand. More supply on the market will allow for a lower price point,” said Seth Lloyd, Senior Planner -Planning and development

Brenda Birkle of My Front Door says we need “qualified” housing studies.

This research looks at established studies and finds the gaps in the housing picture.

”Anytime you’re creating solutions based on the wrong datasets, you’re creating the wrong solutions. I think really what you need is to look at the data honestly and figure out what’s missing,” said Birkle.

Qualified companies do these studies with established results and standardized practices.

Making sure the housing units that are built fit the need and price range of the population they serve.

Other factors that could help include subsidies and private-to-public partnerships to get the projects done.

Birkle says if we use the state and municipal task forces to triangulate with lawmakers, legislative budgets and policy committees, we could start seeing results in about two years.

But she encourages folks to let lawmakers and representatives know where they stand, how important housing is to them, and that it stays forefront of their agendas.

”You can become educated seek out the information and contact your legislators let them know that your opinion is,” said Birkle.

The next Cheyenne Affordable housing task force meeting is happening on June 12th