Housing Toolkit

The Wyoming Business Council collaborates with other state agencies and various stakeholders – public, private and nonprofit – to tackle local, regional and statewide quality-of-life issues and opportunities that have an economic development component.

Mission

Help communities successfully address common struggles by developing tools and a team that can provide resources, information and a map leading to action. See the strategic plan here.

Background

Wyoming has been gathering data from communities about their needs through community assessments, Tour 23 and other assessment venues for more than 15 years. Many themes are continuous and recurring across the state, such as affordable housing and workforce development and attraction.

This toolkit is the compilation of many hours of collective work from various parties. It will continue to be updated as more resources are identified. For more information, please reach out to the advisory board located at the bottom of this website.

The goal of the housing toolkit is to assist communities in discussing the importance of attainable housing. Attainable housing isn’t just an issue of lack of places to live-- it’s an issue with having a strong economy. In order to attract and retain jobs, there must also be a place for these employees to live. This toolkit will explain the issues surrounding attainable housing, as well as provide resources to guide communities through the journey to provide adequate housing. 

Background

Housing affordability supports sustainable economic development, representing a perpetual wage subsidy for local employers and net salary increase for working households—benefits which remain in the local community as long-term assets. Think of local housing stock as part of your community’s critical infrastructure essential to a recruitment and retention strategy for outside investment, good-paying jobs and a dynamic workforce. Employers know a stable labor force is important for productivity, planning, and competitiveness; they also know long commute times and financial strain can impact job performance and reliability.

To be sustainable, housing options must be affordable and accessible to all residents. Healthy housing infrastructure reflects the needs and incomes of real people. The aim is to support community housing choices within reach of all people.

When working households, retirees and others can comfortably meet basic costs associated with local housing, they have more time, money and energy to invest locally. Communities benefit from less traffic, more stability, and engaged residents. School and job attendance increase, while public costs associated with community health and safety go down.

What causes a lack of attainable housing?

Missing middle/workplace housing

The missing middle refers to buildings with multiple units, such as duplexes or triplexes. These buildings have typically been illegal to build since the 1940s so they are considered “missing” from new building stock. Some of the characteristics of this type of housing include walkability, smaller building footprints and smaller units. These housing types are typically more marketable because they are more affordable.

Age/condition of housing

Because the private sector struggles to construct new homes in the “missing middle”, the condition of the existing housing stock declines. Some of these problems can be addressed through code enforcement. Many towns have properties which are considered an eyesore. It may be that city officials are hesitant to give property owners a citation, or they just may not understand how to begin addressing the issue.

Shortage of homes to rent

Since new construction has halted on homes in the missing middle, there is more competition for rental properties and prices are higher for existing rental properties. In addition, developers are not constructing properties designed for renting, such as duplexes or multi-family dwellings.

Housing not a concern of politicians

This issue is seen as the domain of the private sector. Politicians have only seen housing as an issue of the government in the form of public housing. Constituents in communities nationwide are calling on county elected officials to reduce the burdens of housing costs that force residents to relocate to more affordable neighborhoods. Although housing affordability is a shared priority across the country, available options to promote affordability vary widely between counties.

What to do about the lack of attainable housing?

This issue is more complex than just involving housing. Therefore, attainable housing is so important in the overall picture of economic development. The discussion of job creation in communities must also involve the discussion of adequate housing for a community. Available housing for all income groups helps a community retain jobs and helps business owners retain quality employees.

One way to address the condition of properties is through proper code enforcement. This could be as simple as strengthening already existing property maintenance ordinances or it could be bringing in a code enforcement official. While this may take some training or recruitment on the front end, the long-term benefit of improvement of distressed neighborhoods and a long-term plan or guideline to maintaining properties will be beneficial to creating a sustainable community development plan.

This problem needs a multi-prong approach. It may involve a partnership with local developers, or individuals within your community. It may be that a non-profit within your community takes the lead on this.

Advocacy through local government, as well as non-profit statewide organizations is an important part of putting housing issues in front of politicians. National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) is the national organization for housing which provides many resources for advocacy.

A newer solution is developing a community land trust. A community land trust is a nonprofit organization that is the steward of community assets and provides attainable housing opportunities for families. Their primary goal is ensuring families can purchase affordable homes, these homes remain affordable should they go back on the market, and to offer educational opportunities for the families to help them maintain their properties and grow as homeowners.

This “shared equity homeownership” works through households who have an income below the local AMI but are still able to qualify for a mortgage. They purchase the home at an affordable price and lease the land from the Community Land Trust. If the homeowners decide to sell, they can keep all the equity plus a portion of the increase in value. The Community Land Trust manages the resale process, to ensure the home remains attainable. There are nearly 250 Community Land Trusts in the United States; 79% of residents are first-time homeowners, and 82% of residents report income less than 50% of area median.

What happens if a lack of attainable housing isn’t addressed?

If employees have no place to live where they work, it will be harder to draw business into towns. Job creation is strongest if workers reside in the community. Employees who can live near their place of employment are better able to report to work on time while also having time to improve their job skills, get an education, or spend time with their family.

Neighborhoods will continue to become distressed and community pride will decrease. For the continued success of your town, condition of housing and code enforcement is a vital part of the picture.

HUD Good Neighbor Next Door
Law enforcement officers, pre-Kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians can contribute to community revitalization while becoming homeowners through HUD's Good Neighbor Next Door sales program. HUD offers a substantial incentive in the form of a discount of 50 percent from the list price of the home. In return, you must commit to live in the property for 36 months, as your sole residence.

HUD Making Home Affordable
Making Home Affordable (MHA) is designed to get mortgage help and avoid foreclosure.

Wyoming Community Development Authority
For 41 years, Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) has been making it easier for people across Wyoming to finance their first home.
We provide low-interest single-family mortgages and education to help our customers buy and retain their homes. We also offer special programs to aid in the sustainability of homeownership. From our down payment assistance program to homebuyer education and counseling, to our partnerships with developers and our work with nonprofit community organizations, WCDA is the state’s leading resource for housing finance.

Wyoming Housing Network
Preservation and creation of affordable housing, homeowner and homebuyer education.

USDA Rural Development
We are committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. We help rural Americans in many ways through our programs.

We offer loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure.

We promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. We offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations.

We provide technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs. We help rural residents buy or rent safe, affordable housing and make health and safety repairs to their homes.

Affordable Rental Housing (Income limits may apply)

Housing Resource Information Form
There are many resources available in Wyoming to address housing topics. If you are one of those resources, please fill out the Housing Resource Information Form to be added to this website as a resource.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) can help with housing infrastructure, housing planning and home ownership assistance for projects meeting one of the national objectives.
 
The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Wyoming | 2016
Explore the demographics of people in Wyoming living below the Self-Sufficiency Standard.
 
 
Fighting Poverty, Creating Opportunity
Detroit-based agency dedicated to providing food, housing, health services, and job programs. 

Housing Study Flowchart
Housing studies are completed to satisfy a lender or provide information to a developer. Housing studies can range from simple (with limited but specific information needed) to comprehensive  (with extensive and wide ranging information needed).
Identifying housing needs often starts with a healthy dose of community opinions, personal perspectives, and spotty rumor-based assumptions. Make sure a proposed project will benefit from a housing study, and determine the type of study needed before engaging a contractor. 

Property Dynamics
15625 NE 191st St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 489-9780

Bowen National Research
155 E. Columbus St. #220
Columbus, OH 43147
(614) 833-9300
www.bowennational.com

Bowen National Research provides independent real estate research and market feasibility studies for a variety of development alternatives throughout the United States.

Cambridge Partners & Associates
500 N. Plum Grove Rd.
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 776-1976
www.cambridge-partners.com

Cambridge Partners & Associates, Inc. is a multidiscipline consulting company serving the U.S. and international business communities. We specialize in valuation and appraisal consulting, M&A advisory and data management services.




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Wyoming Business Council – Lead Agency
Kim Porter kim.porter@wyo.gov 307-777-5812
Heather Tupper heather.tupper@wyo.gov 307-777-2804
Kim Rightmer kim.rightmer@wyo.gov 307-577-6012

Casper Housing Authority
Kim Summerall-Wright kswright@chaoffice.org 307-266-1388 x 17

HUD
Lyle Kondol lyle.j.konkol@hud.gov 307-261-6251

USDA Rural Development
Scott Sutherland Scott.Sutherland2@wy.usda.gov 307-233-6706

Volunteers of America Northern Rockies
Todd Richins trichins@voanr.org 307-672-0475

Wyoming Community Development Authority
Lesli Wright wright@wyomingcda.com 307-233-0052
Scott Hoversland hoversland@wyomingcda.com 307-233-0053
Carol Wilson wilson@wyomingcda.com 307-233-0057
Jessica Howard Jhoward@wyomingcda.com 307-265-0603
John Batey jbatey@wyomingcda.com 307-265-0603

Wyoming Housing Network
Jim Grenfell JimG@whninc.org 406-690-2650

Wyoming Association of Municipalities
Justin Schilling jschilling@wyomuni.org 307-632-0398

Wyoming Economic Development Association
Anja Bendel Anjab@cheyenneleads.org 307-772-7242

My Front Door
Brenda Birkle brenda@myfrontdoor.org 307-514-5831

Wyoming Association of Realtors
Steve Beazley sbeazley@wyoming.com 307-851-1014

Wyoming Chapter – National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials
Greg Hancock ghancock@cheyennehousing.org 307-262-7845
Deanne Widauf dwidauf@cheyennecity.org 307-7-6255
April Thompson april_thompson@rswy.net 307-352-1471

Wyoming Real Estate Commission
Nicole Novotny Smith nicole.novotnysmith@wyo.gov 307-777-7141