Economic development officials in Clearwater, Idaho and Lewis counties are concerned about the availability of workforce housing, especially in Cottonwood, Craigmont, Kamiah, Nezperce, Orofino and Pierce.
Some leading employers say their new hires often run into trouble finding housing in the region. A few workers end up turning a job down because of it. Since those recruited from outside the area typically are highly skilled such as machinists, welders, engineers and technicians, a lack of housing can lead to production losses for businesses.
Nightforce Optics, the Orofino riflescope manufacturer that now employs about 100 people, has encountered difficulty finding housing for machinists and professionals it tried to hire.
The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, preparing to open in Pierce in January, wound up advertising in the local newspaper for information about homes available for sale or lease to the employees it will hire.