They're pulling in fat paychecks, but now they're also homeless.
In the town of Williston, N.D., America's newest oil boomtown, more than 6,000 job seekers have come from every corner of the country looking for work. Yet, oil companies and other developers haven't been able to build housing units fast enough.
In the past year, only about 2,000 new housing units have been built, leaving many workers out in the cold.
With dozens of job seekers arriving by the day and fewer and fewer spots for them live in, people are taking some desperate measures.
Newer arrivals who can't find vacant hotel rooms or apartments sleep in their cars or in sleeping bags on spare patches of grass along the highway. The luckier ones nab a spot in one of the dozens of dorm-like facilities, known as "man camps," that the oil companies have built to house their workers.
The living conditions are far from ideal, but to some of these workers the lure of doubling or tripling their salaries far outweighs the physical and mental toll it can take.
My street address is the Walmart parking lot
In July, Matt was transferred from a Walmart in Minnesota to Williston's only Walmart -- more than doubling his salary. After arriving in the town he bought an RV to live in and soon realized that the store's parking lot was going to be the closest thing to home he was going to have for some time.
Each day, he buys something from the 24-hour Supercenter so he has an excuse to stay there. At night, Matt (who asked that his last name not be used) and his neighbors break out their lawn chairs, a grill and some beers and tell stories into the wee hours about where they have come from and what they are doing -- or hope to do -- with the money they will make off of this black gold rush.