Living Expenses in Natrona County Are Expensive

CASPER, Wyo. The study was released yesterday and shows Casper lacks affordable housing to meet the needs of low-income citizens.

Reports show Natrona County has the third most low-income tax credit units in Wyoming, but it is still the most pressing need.

"There's a mismatch of what's available versus what people earn and so it's...I think it's just a good indicator of some of the challenges that people that live Wyoming that are facing housing problems are facing." Said Lesli Wright, the Deputy Executive Director of the WCDA.

Tax credits are built with federal tax credits.

In return, the property owner charges rent below the market average for at least 15 years.

"It's injected into the projects as equity, not debt, and so the developer can charger lower rents because they don't have a higher debt service payment." Explained Wright.

Natrona County is short about 15 hundred units which rent for under $521.

It is also short nearly 1600 units that rent for between $521 and $868.

"People that build apartments and housing, you know, that they rent want to make a profit. And if you're renting something in the 400, 500 dollar-per-month range and you're out to make a profit, you're not going to make any money. So the rents have crept up and up and up over the years." Mary Ann Budenske, a board member for Poverty Resistance Food Pantry, explained.

Wright says you should spend about 30% of your gross income on housing. The study shows Natrona County's renter rate is about 34%, which ranks third in the state