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Help Us Build Housing in PWS! Take the PWSEDD Housing Needs Survey

As in so many small communities across the country, the remote and geographically spread-out communities of Prince William Sound are struggling to meet the basic need of shelter for their residents. Residents across the Sound can help meet this challenge by taking a short survey!

Soon residents of Chenega, Tatitlek and Cordova will be receiving a survey in the mail from the PWS Economic Development District about housing needs in your community. Please fill out the survey and drop it back in the mail to return to the PWSEDD. In Whittier, we’ll be facilitating a community-wide meeting in person in early September for collecting responses. (Valdez residents were surveyed two years ago, those responses will be added in to the data collected this year).

Housing stock is old, tired, energy inefficient, and in one extreme case, mobile homes make up 23% of available housing stock. In Cordova and Valdez, most of the long-time home builders have aged out of the profession, and the remaining few are in especially high demand. Half of all PWS housing units were constructed between 1970 and 1989, and 27% were built before 1970 (PWS CEDS, 2021). Our five-year CEDS also notes that “high building costs and a current lack of available, skilled construction workers throughout the region are barriers to new housing construction.”

Our communities have a lot of work to do in responding to the aftermath of the pandemic (hiring teachers and healthcare workers), responding to climate change, and upgrading our port, harbor and road infrastructure to adapt to climate change, but we’re hard pressed to find people who will move here without being able to find housing in which they can establish themselves.

To help develop strategies for restoring and expanding our housing stock, a small group of PWS community stakeholders are working with the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP). MHP receives funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for providing technical assistance to communities across the country looking to improve their housing stock.

Our PWS Housing Working Group has contracted with the McKinley Research Group to conduct a Housing Assessment Survey that will guide this work. Resident responses will tell us what type of housing people are looking for: rent vs. own, how many bedrooms, what households can afford, and more. These responses will guide the working group in developing strategies for increasing housing options in our small, remote communities.

You can help us by responding to this important survey (responses are confidential), and contacting us if you have any questions about this project. Thank you for your support!


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