Editorial: Housing scarce, Killdeer's creative thinking a mustIt’s time for employers to get creative and it seems Killdeer did just that by sitting down to figure out what to do about a problem that is touching entities throughout the region — housing.
It’s time for employers to get creative and it seems Killdeer did just that by sitting down to figure out what to do about a problem that is touching entities throughout the region — housing.
Oil activity has brought people from across the country to western North Dakota and along with that, rent has skyrocketed and affordable housing is few and far between.
It doesn’t seem we can talk some area landlords out of taking advantage of the situation and sometimes charging more than $2,000 for a two bedroom apartment, so we’ve got to come up with other solutions. Paying $24,000 a year for rent burns a hole in a single parent’s pocket pretty quick. It burns a hole in anyone’s pocket pretty quickly. And it is often a good enough reason to take the hit of the ever-increasing gas prices and fill up, pack up and move away.
This is where employers need to come up with solutions. This problem is real and is not likely to get better anytime soon.
Public and private employers across the region are faced with these same issues and sitting and moaning about the lack of help isn’t the answer. They must begin thinking outside of the box and Killdeer deserves credit for doing so.
Retaining people is the best option and old management practices may not work. Think about the employees you have, appreciate them, try to keep them and look at ways to work out solutions. It’s easier to keep someone here who already has a place to live than to find a suitable place for a newcomer.
It’s likely most employers can’t match what some of these new jobs bombarding the area can pay dollar for dollar, but that doesn’t mean turnover rates need to be overwhelming. Believe it or not, money isn’t a deciding factor for all. Job satisfaction is still a key.
Housing has been brought up at meetings throughout the region and Killdeer is thinking outside of the box.
The Killdeer committee decided to pool its resources and construct two duplexes by fall. Each entity — school, city and the golf course — would invest about $200,000 to get the two projects going and if more funds became available, more housing could be in the future. There is also an opportunity for a grant.
The idea is not set in stone as committee members need to take the plan back to each entity for approval before moving forward.
It’s going to take this kind of creative thinking to retain employees and make a move to the area desirable and affordable to candidates.
Those discussing the idea agree it’s not about making money but designed to provide adequate housing for what they expect to come.
The price to live in the new housing is critical to draw interest, a Killdeer official said. And the new affordable duplexes would be an investment in the community.
Along with housing, there is an increase in numerous issues that city leaders have not dealt with. There will be more students and along with that, there will need to be more teachers. There is need for more services and more planning. Communities are growing at unprecedented rates.
The bottom line — there will be and is much going on unlike the area has ever seen and along with the growth needs to be inventive ways to make it work.
Publisher Harvey Brock and Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Press Editorial Board.