Rich in Williston, ND, Are Homeless

Kimberly Watson, Editor in Chief
October 22, 2011 /

They may be receiving six-digit salaries a year, but they are homeless.

The oil boom in the town of Williston, N.D., dubbed as America’s newest oil boomtown, has brought about a somewhat ironic effect to the living condition of oil company workers.

More than 6,000 job seekers have flooded North Dakota looking for job. Although the lucky seekers who have landed a job in Williston oil companies make over $100,000 per year including overtime, most of them sleep in their cars as oil firms ran short of building housing units for their employees.

The real estate industry in Williston can’t keep up with the surge in new comers.

In 2010, about 2,000 new housing units have been built, far from being enough for the entire workforce that enters Williston, ND everyday.

With dozens of job hunters entering Williston a day amid narrowing spaces for them to live in, some are taking desperate moves.

The newer ones who are doomed to run short of spaces to live in sleep in the local Walmart parking lot, which has become the hot spot for homeless employees.

The luckier ones find their places in dorm-like facilities called “man camps,” which are built by oil companies to provide their workers shelters.

Despite the poor living condition, some workers said the lure of whooping salaries outweighs the physical and mental toll it costs them.

Investors vow to build more houses in Williston to house these oil truckers and workers.

 

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