LUSK – When the Casper Housing Authority took over the Lusk Housing Authority in October 2020, they did it quietly and without much fanfare. They had big plans though as they began reviewing the 20 properties owned and offered in the Lusk community.
They began making plans for renovations on the properties and were excited to change the direction of the housing authority by upgrading the interiors and exteriors of the homes.
Speaking with Kim Summerall-Wright, executive director of the Casper Housing Authority, and her enthusiasm for being an advocate for smaller communities and for those that need safe, healthy housing is apparent.
She is excited about the direction they will be taking the Lusk units in. The maintenance staff of the housing authority have done all of the work themselves. With new paint, flooring, upgraded bathrooms, new kitchen appliances and upgraded kitchens, the homes no longer resembled a used-up rental but a higher-end house available for lease. And that is just the point.
Summerall-Wright and her team at the housing authority want to end the stigma that is often associated with the housing authority or Housing in Urban Development (HUD) houses. While rent and availability to someone is based on income, she would rather residents of Lusk view the housing authority as simply another rental resource. With the income threshold sitting at $45,500 annually for one person and going up from there. Most of Niobrara County, which has a median household income of $39,359, would qualify to utilize the housing authority rentals.
With a significant shortage of affordable housing in the Lusk area, Summerall-Wright hopes that families will seek out the housing authority to assist them with safe stable housing. The end goal is to help families become homeowners. To give them the ability to put money aside while also paying rent on a nice home and eventually move into a home of their own.
Individuals can apply online and begin the process. Currently, the waiting list is open, and individuals are encouraged to contact the housing authority with any questions. Summerall-Wright is excited to see what the other units turn out like as they work through the other 19 units that will be under remodel.