Our view: Now is the time to get involved | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Now is the time to get involved

At issue:

The newly formed Community Housing Steering Committee will host its kickoff meeting Monday.

Our view

Securing adequate community housing is of concern to all Routt County residents, and we encourage the public to become involved with the important work of this group.

While the question of how best to address our housing needs has generated more than its fair share of discord through the years, there can be little disagreement that the question itself is an urgent one that demands practical and sustainable answers.

That’s why we were gratified recently to learn more about how the newly formed Community Housing Steering Committee — which is set to hold its kickoff meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center — plans to approach this persistent and growing problem.

Tapping into a broad interest in community housing — an interest shared by the Steamboat Springs City Council, the Routt County Board of Commissioners, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, the business community and the community at large — the steering committee is planning what we think is a practical, thoughtful and logical approach to this complex, multi-faceted issue.

Through the coming eight weeks, the committee — by way of four distinct working groups — will be studying the following four areas of the local housing market.

• Seasonal housing: short-term (less than six months) and rental housing;

• Low-income and special housing: long-term apartment and mobile home rentals for year round residents, with a focus on senior citizens, the homeless population and college students;

• Entry-level housing: permanent residents in the market for condominiums and single-family homes in outlying communities, and;

• Move-up housing: larger townhouse and single-family residences.

Further, the working groups will scrutinize each of the above markets in terms of seven attributes: demographics, supply, demand, obstacles, consequences, solutions and opportunities and definitions of success, drawing at least part of their inspiration from what has worked in communities similar to our own.

The end goal is to develop specific recommendations that will lead to the production of greater housing supply in all four of these market segments, and the committee hopes to present its recommendations to City Council and county commissioners in early December.

But the housing problem is bigger than a single committee, and finding solutions to that problem is in the best interests of all Routt County residents. Our workforce is the engine that drives our local economy — an economy largely based upon tourism and dependent upon local workers’ being able to access affordable housing. For that reason, solving our housing problem is vital to our long-term economic well-being.

So we echo the steering committee’s invitation to the kickoff meeting Monday. The best solutions typically arise when a broad range of ideas and points-of-view are amalgamated in the crucible of collaborative discourse.

This is our town, our county, our valley and our problem; now is the time to become part of the solution.

We hope to see you at the community center Monday.

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