Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boomtown Housing Crisis on a personal note...

Williston NoDak has its share of hot buttons, one is the Housing Crisis that seems to be on the top of everyone’s list.  It’s almost like the Chicken and the Egg.  Do you get a Job and then worry about housing?... or do you get housing and then worry about a job.  I have experienced first hand employers that do not want to consider someone who has submitted their resume without a local address…  Especially if that company doesn’t offer or have any housing available.  I have also experienced companies that have housing available for employees but for a limited time, giving them ample time to find a home or allow for time while your home is  being built.  In our case we were the latter. 

We came to town, found jobs and then during one of my trips to town Ray and I found one of the few developments that had lots available and were assured that we would have a house in 6 to 8 weeks.  Most developments are manufactured homes.  SO our house was being built elsewhere while our basement was being dug and poured on our lot seems like a timely way to build!?  RIght.  Thank goodness Ray was one of these Man Camp dwellers  (one of 9700 people as of Dec 2012) because they originally dug our basement in the wrong spot on our lot!  This was when our building issues began! 

They say… (who are they by the way?) 3 of the hardest things to go through in a marriage is… Death/Illness  of a Family Member, Childbirth and Building a house, many marriages don’t make it through these situations.  We made it through by the skin of our teeth!  BUT this house was a serious challenge.  We had a sales person who said what we wanted to hear and didn’t follow through.  If that isn’t stressful enough I was trying to do all of this from 1600 miles away and trying to get everything done and ready for our move, and let’s remember “The King” Ray was in NoDak living the Man Camp bachelor life.  Me, not having much fun, living the “Single Mom” life!   So by the time the house got completed, 7 MONTHS later not 7 weeks! The kids were supposed to start school in the fall, they started in February, we were forced to move in the worst storm of 2013 and our first day in NoDak was -45* with 55 MPH winds… so could it really get any worse?  OH YES it could! 

After living in our house for a little over a month, the basement starts to flood. Let me explain, when the snow melts it has to go somewhere… the moisture seeps into the dirt (that is everywhere, our yard is dirt, our driveway is dirt, the roads in our neighborhood is dirt, the road to our development is dirt, the county road at the turn off is dirt …you get the picture) at night it gets back to freezing temps and then the frost line is then deeper and then when it thaws again.  Sometimes when it thaws its creates puddling in areas and the run off travels wherever it can find a route to follow…for us it was down the outside walls of our basement and then into the basement via an area where the basement walls and foundation meet!  Hence a basement with water just deep enough to be troubling ! Eeek!  Many items were ruined…the cardboard box that my wedding dress was preserved in was in the water and I haven’t had the heart to open it and look to see if it is still wrapped in plastic… or ruined!  This is just the tip of the iceberg and I am on the case to getting the problem rectified! 

Back to the housing crisis… It is very difficult to find housing, Homes that are 50 to 75 years old are selling for upwards of 400k and they are not big houses, and many need countless repairs.  If you are looking for something new with a little more square footage, you are looking at a manufactured house with a basement (if you are lucky) and most likely you will be living outside of town and will be travelling dirt roads to get where you need to. There are some stick built homes but  they take longer to build and are very expensive too!   In that situation EVERY single person who has a newer home is grateful to have a roof over their heads!  A roof that isn’t a travel trailer.  Right now officials say that the population of Williston is a little more than 15,000 people.  9700 of them are living in man camps, and right now there are more than 400 Rv’s Traiers or Motorhomes parked in various areas and there are families of 5 or 6 people living PERMANENTLY in these situations. 

When our kids started school they were asked by teachers, students etc… “Do you live in a Motor Home or a trailer”, and they don’t mean Mobile Home because that is a middle class home here…  Our kids were completely confused and had no idea that families were living in such tight quarters.  They feel pretty blessed that we have a home and it has actually turned out very “Senior” it is very warm and inviting!  (but there is the mud factor) And as soon as we get the basement situation fixed we will have bedrooms for all 4 kids… they won’t have to share anymore! 

Moving to NoDak is a challenge in many ways…I think (personally) we did it the right way.  Come to town with a plan (interviews lined up, come during one of the many Job Fairs are come and pound the pavement) to find a job and the head back home to wait for all of the job offers to pour in (hopefully) be prepared to pass a drug test and know that you can pass a background check.  In the meantime look for housing…there are some duplexes going up in the area, there are some apartment buildings that are newer and some housing developments that are starting.  You might get a job offer that has housing available while you look for a permanent place.  One thing I hope everyone thinks about. 

This is where you work so why not make it your home?  Many people come to work and leave to go back home to see their families… this wasn’t an option for us because we do well as a family unit… all in!  I really did miss my hubby while we were apart!  I think we appreciate each other more!  The one thing I missed the most was Ray waking me up (he turns off the alarm so it doesn’t scare the crap outta me) and with the gentle kiss to the forehead he wakes me up!  AM I a lucky girl or what?  But he still leaves his dirty clothes on the floor for me to put in the hamper that is right next to the pile of said clothes!  So he is not perfect but he is close!