Chasing the American dream in a Walmart parking lot

These six men have traveled from far and wide to cash in on the oil boom in Williston, North Dakota. But due to the severe housing crunch in the area, the only place they have to call home right now is the Walmart parking lot.

Matt
Matt
Home state: Minnesota

I used to work for a trucking company in Minnesota that had been around for 96 years, but it shut down in 2009. I couldn't find a job, so I ended up declaring bankruptcy and going through foreclosure.

Then I finally found a job at Walmart, where I made $7.50 an hour. But even that wasn't enough to live on, especially since I have to pay $759 a month in child support.

So when I found out Walmart really needed people to work in the Williston location, and that they would pay me more per hour to move there, I put my name in right away. I moved here in July, and I now make $16.80 an hour and get lots of overtime -- at $25.39. I usually get $2,400 every two-week pay period, and I get health benefits.

It's surrealistic here. Just crazy. Every day it gets crazier. You sometimes just don't believe the things you see. The other day I was texting on my cell phone in the Walmart doorway and some kid took off stealing stuff from inside and ran right smack into me. I went flying into the air like a tackling dummy.

The town has started cracking down on people like us living in the Walmart parking lot. But since it's a 24-hour location, we just keep buying little things from the store and keep the receipts in case someone tries to make us move.



Blake Ellis - Last updated November 03 2011: 10:08 AM ET
Six-figure salaries, but homeless

In Williston, N.D., America's newest oil boomtown, thousands have come looking for work. Yet, many of them can't find housing.

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