"It's easy for people to look at the numbers, but when people actually see the conditions, it's horrifying. Of the 311 homeless kids in the school district, 62 are kindergarteners."
-Amanda Huckabay, Casper Housing Authority
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases nearly a million dollars in awards to public housing agencies in Wyoming today... but little of it goes to Casper.
Casper Housing Authority Spokewoman Amanda Huckabay says, "the city still has a long way to go. There is a lot of housing being built, though it's not affordable for low-income families. Casper received less than one third as much as Cheyenne. And local housing staff is surprised population isn't even a factor taken into consideration.
A large factor determining how funds are allocated is the poverty level... as well as the number of public housing units in the city.
Huckabay says, "Cheyenne has a very strong team that has been in place for a long time working very dilligently to address the housing issues in Cheyenne."
Cheyenne's Housing Authority staff has years of experience under their belts and have been able to expand their staff and in doing so, they have been able to grow their housing up to 351 public housing units.
Compared to Casper with a relatively new housing authority staff and 75 public housing units. Casper housing officials realize how much work remains. Huckabay says, "it's easy for people to look at the numbers, but when people actually see the conditions, it's horrifying."
And when looking at the numbers, it's important to note that these aren't just adults without homes. Huckabay says she spoke with the school district homeless coordinator, and found shocking information.
"Of the 311 homeless kids in the school district, 62 are kindergarteners."
Rick Garcia, a HUD Representative for the Rocky Mountain Region, says "there is an opportunity through other hud resources and programs that we make available to the state and to other local casper community groups that they could put a plan together to ensure that there's ways to bring people out of living in tents and into permanent housing."
Casper Housing Authorities will be working hard to make sure more money comes to the city next year.
Housing Officials completed the state-wide point in time count in January.
Though, they do not have the numbers just yet. Casper Housing Authority recently purchased the Star Apartments and plans on building future projects as well