West Texas Town Profits From Housing Shortage 5/7/12
CBS 7 News
May 7, 2012
Kermit, TX - A drastic population increase in West Texas is causing cities across the Permian Basin to scramble for new housing, but one small town is managing to capitalize on their shortage by allowing something most other towns don't.
You see them all over the Permian Basin: mobile homes, RVs and in some cases tents set up next to houses in the city limits.
While that is against ordinances in many areas the City of Kermit says by allowing it, it becomes one solution to the housing shortage.
Its Sandra Zuniga and her son Frank's first day in Kermit, they moved from California in search for jobs, but they are one of the many out-of-towners looking for housing.
“We looked in the newspapers and there was nothing,” Sandra Zuniga said.
But the Zuniga family lucked out. They found a landlord renting out a mobile home in the front yard of his house.
“A friend-of-a-friend told us about this trailer and that made it easy for us,” She said.
The Kermit City Manager, Sam Watson says many cities have ordinances that keep mobile homes and RVs out of yards and even city limits, but Kermit never had zoning laws in the first place, making the town a sweet-spot for new-comers bringing in more revenue.
“In the last three months it's been busy,” Watson said, “We have a lack of housing and that's their nearest alternative.”
Watson says all you need is a permit for plumbing and electricity and although its not easy on the eye, he says the city is better off than others in this housing crisis.
“As long as the boom is going on,” Watson said, “It’ll be pretty busy.”
Although it's allowed, city code enforcers say you still have to apply for the permit by not doing so your permit fees can double.