Perry County Addresses Housing Shortage

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Tell City from the air (Courtesy Perry County Development Corporation Tell City from the air (Courtesy Perry County Development Corporation

Perry County leaders want to know why a disproportionate number of people who work in the county live outside the county lines. One reason may be housing. The Perry County Development Corporation recently received the results of a study looking at the residential market.

“Housing has been a key focus area of the PCDC for the past several years, especially as the number of available jobs in the county has increased,” said PCDC Vice President Erin Emerson.

As of the last census in 2010, the population of Perry county was approximately 19,300. That level hasn’t grown, despite new industries in the county. Emerson says that means workers are commuting into the county for work but commuting out to go home.

“There is a need for more housing to house people who would like to be living here, but instead haven't been able to find a place,” said Todd Mosby, president and CEO of the Perry County Development Corporation.

In response, the PCDC commissioned a study to learn more about current housing needs and for the years ahead. “We know that in the future, there will be expansions at our current facilities. We also have new businesses that are looking in our direction. So, we knew that there was a need for some additional housing,” Mosby said.

The study, conducted in March, analyzed the Perry County labor force housing desires. Mosby says with growth in household and per capita incomes, the demand for newer housing has grown. He says the highest demand is for three bedrooms and a growing need for four-bedroom homes, ranging in price from $150,000 to $250,000.

The study also looked at the availability of multi-family units and apartments. The apartment market is mostly older and concentrated on low-income and senior living. The average apartment complex in Perry county is 46 years old.

Mosby says even before the study, the PCDC started working with developers who may be interesting in building sites in Perry county. Those talks show promise. “We've been able to put on the table, some developments that are going to take place and announcements that will be made. Our first announcement will probably be made within the next three to four weeks,” said Mosby.

Having conversations with local employers, PCDC leaders quickly realized employers were losing qualified job candidates because of the shortage of quality housing.

“Industry is telling new recruits that they'll have to live 30 minutes away in a different county, but now we’ll be able to say, ‘here's the packet of information on where you can live within our community,” said Mosby.

To read the study click here.

Mosby says Perry county has seen a change in its industries, resulting in higher wages and growing demand for improved housing.
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