A recent transplant to the Page area told the Page City Council last week that it has been nearly impossible for him to find affordable housing within the city. Saying he recently moved to town with his wife, Dennis Bodily said to council in no uncertain terms, “We are having difficulty finding an affordable place to live in this town. What you call affordable, [I believe] is typically outrageous.”
Bodily went on to describe how he has tried to find a place to park his RV long term in the meantime, but has been unsuccessful due to city ordinances that dictate where an RV can be parked. Typically, he said, the waiting times to get an RV into one of those locations can take between three and six months.
“I want it noted that I work here. I’m not a tourist. I’m not here to stay a couple days and leave. I’m here to work, and I’m having a heck of a time finding any place to live other than a hotel, and the expenditures for a hotel room here would eat up more than my income,” he said.
Former Page fire chief and National Park Service employee Larry Clark chimed in, saying he had talked to Bodily the week prior alongside another new Page resident who had the same complaint.
“I’m a real believer in history,” said Clark, who moved to Page in 1985. “And the history of Page is that there wasn’t affordable housing [in 1985] and there isn’t affordable housing now.”
Clark told council during his time with Park Service in the late ’80s, he had similar issues finding housing for his summertime employees.
“Something really needs to happen. I can tell you in about 1987, I had one employee stay at a real rat hole of a place and lived in a trailer I wouldn’t put my goats in. I went through the other day and that trailer is still being rented out. No upgrades, nothing has been done since,” he continued.
Clark, saying he personally “didn’t have a solution,” but implored council to prioritize the issue and explore options for a fix.
“I think you need to pay attention to history,” he concluded.
Although council was unable to respond to the two during the meeting, several council members have previously expressed interest in using grant money to provide some kind of assistance for residents entering the housing market.
A federal Community Development Block grant awarded to the city earlier this year by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development went to playground equipment and restroom upgrades.
Other options for which the money could have been used included a home ownership assistance program where the city could help provide up to a $15,000 one-time matched down payment on a home for a new or financially struggling homeowner.
Also on the list was a plan for housing rehabilitation options for low-income homeowners.
Councilors said they wanted to use the next grant, which will be available again several years down the road, for similar housing options as a first step to make housing more affordable.