Dickinson rents houses to employees, once looked at for homeless shelterAfter officials determined a home owned by the city of Dickinson was not fit for a homeless shelter, it and a second city home are housing employees.
After officials determined a home owned by the city of Dickinson was not fit for a homeless shelter, it and a second city home are housing employees.
City Administrator Shawn Kessel said Dickinson Museum Center coordinator Dan Ingram and City Planner Ed Courton are renting the homes.
The city was going to use the house Courton lives in as a homeless shelter, but officials decided not to because the home contains lead-based paint.
Federal funding would have likely been used to update the home, said Greg Beck, housing rehabilitation specialist with Community Action Partnership.
The house had to meet certain standards to utilize federal funding so Beck inspected the home, finding it would cost tens of thousands to encapsulate or remove the lead-based paint.
“Adults can end up with migraine headaches and fatigue and stuff like that from lead-based paint poisoning and children under the age of six can end up with learning disabilities,” Beck said. “Basically, if there’s no federal money involved, it can be rented out as is.”
Kessel said the home Ingram resides in was not tested for lead.
“My guess is that there is lead-based paint in that one as well since it was built in the same era,” Kessel said.
However, Ingram and Courton are not concerned with the lead.
“You face this in every older house,” Ingram said. “I grew up in a Victorian house in Iowa that had lead paint in it. Essentially it’s sort of encapsulated by the layers of paint that have been put on top of it, so I don’t have any real concern with it at all.”
The paint on the outside of the home Courton is residing in is peeling off, but he said that’s not the case on the interior.
“I don’t have a concern,” Courton said. “You just take extra
He added the interior paint is not peeling.
“I’m just very thankful that the city had some place for us to stay,” Courton said. “I cannot find a place that will allow me to have dogs.”
He and his family are unwilling to part with their three dogs, he added.
The homes were purchased by the city to improve parking near City Hall, Kessel said.
Hiring additional city staff at City Hall would likely require the city to renovate the basement into offices, which would prompt the city to begin turning the properties into a parking lot, he added.
“We’re going through the preliminary budget right now and I am anticipating pretty much every city department is going to want additional staff so I think it’s going to be hard to avoid renovating that basement in the near term,” Kessel said.
The earliest he expects the properties to be turned into parking lots is next spring.
“If we haven’t pulled the trigger on the parking lot, yeah, we’ll continue to put new city staff in those homes until the need no longer arises…,” Kessel said.