SALINA, Kan. (KSNW) – A booming economy is attracting nearly 1,000 to Salina but where will the workers live?

Salina’s community and development services director Lauren Driscoll said there are three major employers who are expanding, but for Kansans like Destiny Williams moving to Salina isn’t possible. 

“It’s just really difficult to find housing, and it’s a really frustrating situation,” said Williams. 

Williams drives more than an hour to get to work in Salina. She said she’s been looking for a place in the city for several months, but nothing has been available. 

“Every time I would actually find a place that would work, they were already taken up before I could even act upon it,” said Williams. 

In February, she will be moving to McPherson, but it’s still 40 minutes to work. 

Many others could be in the same position. 

Driscoll said with an unemployment rate under 4%, a lot of these new jobs will be filled with out of town residents.  

“In order to fill these jobs, a lot we are likely going to be bringing these people from outside of this community,” she said. 

Driscoll said she projects the city will need more than 2,300 housing units. 

There is land available, and there is a demand, but there are several issues. 

Salina Chamber of Commerce President Eric Brown said it is considered a high-risk area to lenders because there are no other apartments that have been built, so lenders can’t compare them to other buildings.

“We have under 50 houses on the MOS at any given time that is traditional, but our apartment complexes, we haven’t had a market-rate apartment complex built in Salina in two decades, so that’s really a void that is happening in our housing market right now,” said Brown. 

Driscoll said the bringing supplies into a non-metro area comes with a high price tag. 

“Those construction costs are high as well so you know it doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t want to build $150,000 or 200,000 house, but the numbers just don’t pan out,” said Driscoll.

Driscoll said house, apartment, and duplex developers are needed, so the city can bring homes to those new employees. 

Driscoll said there have been some developers who have called and asked for incentives. The city plans to discuss incentives for building in Salina at Monday’s City Commission meeting.