Rents that have doubled or tripled and families and individuals homeless and "couch surfing" or living out of cars.
Those were among the ugly scenes portrayed Tuesday during a day-long housing summit to examine the effects the Marcellus Shale gas drilling industry has had on housing and to work toward finding solutions.
Among the "new realities" facing agencies that deal with homelessness and other issues related to housing assistance include the emergence of "couch surfing" - sleeping on sofas in other people's homes - as a way of life.
Rachelle Abbott, director of planning for STEP Inc., which serves people in Lycoming and Clinton counties, described a new group of homeless individuals who travel from place to place without any permanence.
"These aren't people living under bridges or in tents," she said.
Complicating the issue are people displaced from their homes by the September flood.
Abbott noted how STEP workers are assisting hundreds of clients, many of them who survived the September flood, but who are seeking financial help to get by.
"The flood perpetuated the housing crisis in Lycoming County," she said.
The agency, she said, had applied for a $186,000 federal housing grant. The money was supposed to provide rental assistance for homeless individuals, according to Abbott.
The grant was denied because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development uses different criteria to define homelessness.
As of April, 800 people remain on a waiting list at STEP for housing rehabilitation assistance, Abbott said.
In the weeks after the flood, people went to the agency for assistance to pay for utilities. STEP, in turn, tried to counter the growing form of homelessness, she added.
Since the flood, 1,200 homes were visited by STEP housing crews and rehabilitation has begun, but about a third remain in a state of application for financial assistance to pay for rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, with the housing crisis, many of the county's residents who are secure with a roof over their heads are staying put, according to Merilyn Severson, executive director of the Lycoming County Housing Authority.
Far fewer people who are in the authority program are looking elsewhere, she said. They aren't leaving, she added, because of the existing housing shortage and a lack of adequate, safe and secure houses in their price range.
"We're seeing a decrease in our turnover," Severson said, a reference to those who have vouchers to obtain federally funded Section 8 housing.
Housing was limited before the natural gas drilling industry arrived, according to Bill Blevins, director of Bradford County Human Services, who also has seen "couch surfing" on the rise as well as homeless "living under bridges" and in "tents."
"They can't get apartments," Blevins said.
Blevins said human services had to provide emergency utility assistance for individuals so they could pay their rent and not die from exposure and, he said, the winter wasn't extremely cold.
"We also don't have foster care for these families," Blevins said. "We send them to Erie or Philadelphia and that's not going to help."
"We're seeing the ripple effect," said Jim Meehan, regional housing coordinator of Futures Community Support Services Inc., an agency covering six counties in the region.
Part of that ripple includes the trend of younger families seeking "mortgage counseling and credit counseling," Meehan said. That is not because they are spending unwisely, he said, but because they are "picking up the slack for older parents ... who need a $25,000 roof, or ramps or wider doorways."
Meehan said throwing money at the situation isn't always the best solution to the housing crisis.
"Sometimes resources is the answer," he said.
He explained how supportive he was of the summit hosted by Lycoming College and interagency cooperation.
"Look at the diversity of the agencies and groups," he said. "Linking all of us together, that's where we can begin to see change."
An industry employee, Michael Narcavage, manager of corporate development for Chesapeake Energy, cautioned those reading news stories and at the summit not to automatically blame the natural gas industry for the problems.
"It could have been any industry," he said, noting Bradford County was in a recession before the gas workers arrived.
He said when he moved here from the Scranton area, it took eight months from the sale of his house to find a new place to live in Bradford County.
"There were no new homes built," he said.
Dan Klingerman, president and CEO of The Liberty Group, said he knew "nothing about housing."
His response drew some laughter.
But Klingerman said his company provides an array of services that are used in the gas industry, such as transportation, construction, asset management and hotels/hospitality.
Klingerman said he would continue to form partnerships and share ideas to improve the community.
For the hosts of the summit, Dr. Jonathan Williamson and Bonita Kolb, professors at Lycoming College, doubts about the longevity of gas industry work in the region and low gas prices also may have an impact on housing.
As of March 23, the price of natural gas had fallen to $2.28 per thousand cubic feet from about $4.17 a year ago, their report said.
Specifically, some natural gas producers said they plan to reduce - but not eliminate - their planned level of drilling activity in dry gas regions of the Marcellus Shale, including the Northern Tier counties.
"The effect of such a reduction in activity undoubtedly will result in reducing demand for housing, at least temporarily," the professors said.
That doesn't mean pipeline construction and compressor stations won't continue to be developed, according to the study.
Any scale-down from the rate of gas development the region saw in 2011 may be a "blessing in disguise," Williamson and Kolb said.
A reduction in the level of activity should allow for better planning and for housing solutions.
Analysis of gas industry impacts on housing also revealed a gap in understanding the future housing needs of those staying at hotels.
Efforts are under way to conduct brief surveys of industry workers staying at hotels and motels.
"The results of this analysis will be available as part of the larger report Delta Development Group Inc. submits to the Lycoming County commissioners," Williamson and Kolb said.