CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

Incoming Pipeline Workers Searching Hard for Housing Around Boone

BOONE, Iowa -- Finding short-term housing in Boone will be very hard over the next several months. Boone is a construction staging site for the Dakota Access pipeline.

Kurt Phillips, Executive Director of the Boone Chamber of Commerce, has been talking to local hotels, mobile home courts, and campgrounds to seek space for the workers. He said he heard 600-800 workers could be coming to the area for several months.

"We're getting constant inquiries at the Chamber of Commerce related to a need for housing," said Phillips. "In particular, our understanding is that waves of groups of workers are coming into Boone County, that use Boone as sort of their central base."

Phillips has been talking to local hotels, mobile home courts, and campgrounds to seek space for the workers,  he heard  possibly, 600-800 workers could be coming to the area for several months.

The problem, over the coming weeks, is all motel and camping in the area is already booked up for the Boone Nationals Stock Car Races, Pufferbilly Days, and the Farm Progress Show.

Local officials are looking at campgrounds around Boone County, some are even considering developing a campground to house temporary workers.

One Boone Motel reported workers have been seeking to lodging from as far away as Louisiana and Texas. Some workers declined available rooms, seeking lower cost housing elsewhere, even though the motel offered the lowest rate.

Ritchie Schmidt, of the Laborer's International Union in Des Moines, said so far their Iowa-based workers have been able to find rooms, some  at Ames motels.

"Of course, it's still a very lively subject, a very divisive subject," said Phillips. "Here in Boone County, our job is just to do what we do for anybody, help them find a place to live and know where they can shop do business with our local merchants and retailers."

If you have housing or camp space, let the Boone Chamber know. You can reach them here.