Gas boom means little space for Pa. flood victims

October 3, 2011 • Business

In this Sept. 30, 2011 photo, from left, Bradley Smith, his mother Kim Eastwood, Christy Fowler, and her son Austin Fowler pose in front of the Red Cross shelter in Tunkhannock, Pa.,where they’ve been staying since their homes in Mehoopany, Pa., were flooded weeks ago. A housing crunch brought about by a natural gas drilling boom in northern Pennsylvania has made it difficult for residents displaced by flooding to find places to live. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania residents who lost their homes to Tropical Storm Lee more than three weeks ago are having a tough time finding affordable housing, or any housing at all, because workers in the area’s natural gas drilling boom have filled nearly every room.

Last month’s record flooding has worsened a housing crunch in north central and northeastern Pennsylvania, where a surge in drilling over the past few years has led to housing shortages and skyrocketing rents. Flood victims say that available units are few, and federal disaster assistance doesn’t come close to paying the rent on the scattered vacancies that are left.

Kim Eastwood, whose home was severely damaged in the flood, has been staying with her son, daughter and elderly mother in a Red Cross shelter in a high school gymnasium while she tries to find a place for them to live.

It hasn’t been easy — not shelter life with its cold showers and hard cots, nor her quest for an apartment or house. “The couple we saw are way too expensive,” said Eastwood, 35, of Mehoopany.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will provide temporary trailers to residents who qualify — the first batch of about 250 trailers has been approved, and they are Login to read more

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