Can you say “quixotic”?
By JACK HEALY
CASPER, Wyo. — After losing everything last year to Southern California’s soured economy, Tiffany Kipp and her family packed up three boxes and a diaper bag and caught a Greyhound bus to Wyoming, their best chance at a fresh start.
They were drawn to Wyoming, where Ms. Kipp has family, by the promise of plentiful jobs and a booming energy sector, and a thin hope of rebuilding their futures on the High Plains. But like a growing number of people here, they ended up on the underside of the boom.
Unable to scrape together enough money for an apartment, the Kipps, who once rented a four-bedroom house north of Los Angeles, bounced from motel rooms to friends’ couches. They ended up in a single room at a shelter run by a local nonprofit organization.
“We lost everything,” said Ms. Kipp, 25, whose husband works for an oil services company. “We needed somewhere to go.”
There is a surprising downside to Wyoming’s economic resilience and its 5.1 percent unemployment rate: a sharp rise in homelessness.
As another winter settles in, many people who moved here fleeing foreclosures and chasing jobs in the oil, gas and coal industries now find themselves without a place to live. Apartments are scarce and expensive, and the economy, while strong, is Read the rest of this entry »