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Alaska’s Housing Shortage: The Details

Alaska currently has a major housing shortage. Rural locations and a lack of affordable building materials are leading to overcrowding across the state.

There is a housing shortage all across the USA at the moment, and that is true even in the most northerly state of Alaska. Here, there are several issues in place that make it even more difficult to alleviate the potential problem compared to other states. What is causing the housing shortage in Alaska, and what can be done to fix it?

Overcrowding and Underdevelopment

Alaska has a massive problem in terms of too many people and not enough houses. For a state with such a low population, it can be difficult to picture this but there are actually too few homes for the people living in the state. Alaskans are twice as likely to live in an overcrowded household compared to what we see in the national average, overcrowding being defined as more than one person to a room within the house. Something as simple as having your own bedroom might be unfeasible, with grown adults having to share a home long past where others would be living on their own in other states.

There is also a massive problem in terms of the underdevelopment of some properties. While there could be ones in need of renovation, there are not the resources available to make the changes. This means that there are potentially good homes that are just going to waste. All this does is create further shortages throughout the state – worsening the crisis with every passing season.

Rural Living

The majority of these issues are felt in the rural areas. It can be particularly difficult here as houses can be owned by the village themselves and not the homeowners – especially if they are in an area that is heavily populated by Native Alaskans. While it might be relatively easy to manage the housing shortage somewhere more populated like Anchorage, things become more difficult the more rural that you go.

Everything can be affected, including the insurance premiums needed to be paid. You should always find out how much dwelling coverage is needed for your property in an area like this – it could be more than you imagined. Living rurally in these areas can be difficult, but many simply don’t have a choice. It is far too easy for those removed from these communities to question why they have to remain there. These villages support both Alaska and America as a whole in a way that few properly appreciate and they receive very little back for all that they give.

The Difficulty in Sourcing Materials

A major part of the housing shortage is that it is so difficult to get the materials needed to improve the homes in these rural villages. Most materials need to be either flown in or brought by barge. There is absolutely no way that they could be loaded onto a truck and driven to the village. Much of the continental USA relies on the interstate system and the rail network to get goods from A to B. However, as soon as you reach Alaska, this model fails.

Flying or shipping building materials is very expensive. Most homes are pre-fabs that are assembled elsewhere and then shipped whole to their final destination. However, if they are developed in the middle of winter, they can be left until spring. Though they do eventually get assembled, there is every chance that someone will still be left without their home for a few months while others in more southern states are able to move right in when they find a home.

Alaska is a beautiful state and many take pride in being able to live rurally here. However, it cannot be denied that there is a massive issue when it comes to the cost of living and the housing crisis. Support needs to be given to build good new homes and support Alaskans as much as possible. There are charities and organizations across the state who are doing so already but they can only work at a rate of one house at a time. With more support from elsewhere, and the delivery of more affordable building materials and housing schemes, we could hopefully see the Alaskan housing shortage decline and maybe cease to exist altogether.

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