Survey explores workforce housing needs in Pope County

A survey of employees who work in Pope County found that a majority of respondents believe it is difficult to find appropriate housing in the county, lending more evidence that a lack of workforce housing is a growing problem in many parts of Greater Minnesota.

The survey, which was conducted by the University of Minnesota-Morris, Center for Small Towns and University of Minnesota Extension, was distributed to employees of selected businesses within the county and asked questions about their current housing situation, demographic information and whether they think it is difficult to find housing. A total of 608 employees responded to the survey.

Some of the “key findings” from the survey and subsequent focus groups include:

  • A majority of respondents believe that it is difficult to find appropriate housing in Pope County. This was true even of the respondents satisfied with their current housing.

  • Of the respondents who live of Pope County but prefer to live in the county, zero found it easy to find housing that met their needs.
  • High rent in the county was a major theme in focus groups when discussing the difficulty in finding housing.
  • Not only was the rent high, focus group participants also expressed that there is low availability of rentals within the county. Participants expressed that of the units available, many were of low quality.
  • Participants expressed that there is a gap of availability between low-cost housing and high-end housing.

The full report, titled Workforce Housing in Pope County, can be downloaded here.