Waitlist for affordable housing in Wyoming has nearly tripled in size

Teton County residents aren't the only ones feeling the affordable housing crunch in the state.
A sign near a street.
A sign for the Laramie office of the Cheyenne Housing Authority on May 2, 2024. (Chris Clements/KHOL)

Teton County residents aren’t the only ones feeling the housing crunch in the state. Over the last three years, the waitlist for affordable housing for one statewide housing agency has nearly tripled in size.

The Cheyenne Housing Authority provides low-income housing to residents of Laramie and Cheyenne. It also runs a Section 8 housing voucher program in communities across the state. The vouchers subsidize rent for tenants who have a private landlord. 

In the last three years, the waitlist for housing vouchers has grown from roughly 1,000 applicants to 3,100.

Subsidies are paid to the landlord directly by the housing authority on behalf of a family. Then, the family pays the difference between the total rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the voucher.


Greg Hancock is the executive director of the housing authority.

“It’s got to be a frustrating experience,” said Hancock about the waitlist. “It’s frustrating for us, too. We’d certainly like to house everybody that’s qualified that comes in the door.”

Hancock said there’s many different reasons for the waitlist increase, including a dwindling number of private landlords for potential tenants.

“It’s the shortage of vouchers, in addition to the shortage of housing units and cooperative landlords, that results in the waitlist,” he said.

The landlord shortage is partly due to rising property and liability insurance premiums for both the housing authority and for landlords, Hancock said. Premiums themselves are rising because of less competition between carriers in the insurance industry.

Hancock said one potential solution might be the establishment of an affordable housing trust fund in Wyoming. A similar proposal to create a trust fund died in committee in the 2023 legislative session.

Though the trust fund isn’t currently on the table, affordable housing is still on lawmakers’ minds. Last week, the Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee met in Lander and listened to proposals from renters and county officials on ways to fight the state’s affordable and workforce housing shortage.

Options included expanding the use of Tax Increment Financing districts (TIF) and making it possible to lease state and federal lands to private developers, as well as a bill that would incentivize property owners to refurbish abandoned buildings.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

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