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Rents pricing out workers in Eureka Springs | ArkansasOnline

EUREKA SPRINGS — A dearth of affordable housing in Eureka Springs is causing a shortage of service-sector employees, say some restaurant owners in the tourist town.

Kelli Zumwalt, co-owner of K.J.’s Caribe restaurant, said she didn’t know if she’d be able to open this season because she was having trouble finding workers. Many Eureka Springs restaurants close for the winter.

“It’s a serious deal,” she said. “Affordable housing is the No. 1 issue here. We don’t have affordable housing.”

Zumwalt was able to find the workers she needed to open the restaurant this spring, but she’s concerned about the long-term implications.

Zumwalt said it’s hard for restaurant workers to get by in the city of 2,073 residents, even though Eureka Springs has about 75 restaurants.

“You have to have two jobs,” she said. “You have to have a roommate. You can’t make it on your own.”

Apartments in downtown Eureka Springs may be advertised at $650 a month, but by the time a renter pays utilities and parking — which can cost $200 a month — the total would be closer to $1,000, said Bobbi Bins, an employee of DeVito’s Restaurant downtown.

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Rents pricing out workers in Eureka Springs.

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