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Oilfield-style housing — such as manufactured homes — could fill the needs of migrant workers in Renville County

OLIVIA — Renville County is looking north for its answer to a long-standing issue of meeting the housing needs of seasonal workers.

The county is looking at the possibility of developing housing for seasonal workers modeled after that provided for oil field workers in North Dakota. The housing units — if they meet local codes — could be added to lots in manufactured housing parks where sewer, water, and electrical infrastructure are present, Jill Bruns, public health director, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

She said there are vacant lots in some of the county’s manufactured home parks. The proposed units could also replace some of the older units in the parks.

The seasonal housing issue has resurfaced in the county as workers for Transystems seek housing on the eve of the sugar beet harvest. The company has let local city and county officials know that there is not enough housing available for its workers.

Transystem provides trucking services for the Southern Minnesota Sugar Beet Cooperative and its member producers. Many of the truck drivers will begin this season’s work on Friday.

Bruns and Chris Hettig, director of the Renville County Housing and Redevelopment Authority/Economic Development Authority, told the commissioners that job growth in the county has outpaced the available housing.

The interest in temporary housing is a long-standing issue in the county, where the agricultural-based economy includes many seasonal jobs.

Some of Transystem’s drivers are staying with family or extended families, or leasing rooms at hotels in the area, according to discussions at the meeting.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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