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Working away from home

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CONNELL, Wash. The availability of housing in Connell is an issue for many employees at Coyote Ridge Correction Center. A lot of them commute long distances on the weekends and live at R. V. parks during the week.

"I miss my family, I don't necessarily like being here five days a week without seeing my wife," says one of the workers, Richard Robideou. On the weekends, he travels over an hour and a half to his home in Yakima.

Jennifer Nelson who works in the human resources department at the prison says employees come from all over , "we actually have a van pool every day that drives from Spokane here. We have fellow employees that live in Moses Lake, Yakima, Walla Walla, College Place, Othello, and other outlying areas across the Coyote Ridge."

According to the Coyote Ridge, 21 percent of the employees at the facility live in Connell while the rest commute. Most of those people stay at the only R. V. in the city. "The prison guards make up probably 75 to 80 percent of the people in here," says Dave Kilgore of Coyote Run R. V. Park.

With the constant migration of people coming to Connell to work, the city has seen it's effect. "We've seen quite an up tick in residential construction in the past couple of years," says  city administrator Steve Taylor.

Taylor points to the rise in building permits of residential properties in Connell which has risen from 32 in 2009 to 42 in 2010. The construction of homes also rose from 10 in 2009 to 16 in 2010. 

Despite the rise in building permits and homes being constructed, people like Robideou are feeling the strain of commuting, "financially, we're basically doing two households. One at the R. V. and one at home."