Steamboat Ski Area offering cash incentive to landlords who can house their employees affordably
Steamboat Springs — Fresh snow isn’t the only thing Steamboat Ski Area is looking for this month.
The resort is hoping a new cash incentive will help it find homes for up to 50 of its seasonal workers who are stuck on a waitlist in a very tough housing market where rents have exploded.
The ski area announced this week it will pay an additional $200 a month to qualifying landlords who can house a ski area employee for under $500 a month.
Landlords would receive the $200 monthly incentive for each ski area employee it houses.
Ski area spokeswoman Nicole Miller said Thursday 50 of the resort’s employees are currently sitting on the waiting list for a room at the Ponds, the ski area’s workforce housing complex.
The number of rooms available to rent in the city appeared very limited on Thursday.
Only one downtown bedroom for $500 a month plus utilities was available in Steamboat Today’s classified page.
And the pair of one-bedroom, one-bathroom units advertised in the city ranged from a low of $1,050 per month to $1,600 a month.
Finding housing for employees has been an issue for the ski area and other major employers in Steamboat Springs and other resort communities in recent years as rents have risen and more property owners have started to list rooms on vacation rental sites like Airbnb.
Jason Peasley, executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, said a recent survey revealed the city is now 180 beds short of being able to satisfy the demand for seasonal workforce housing.
“This is a reaction to that gap,” Peasley said of the ski area’s new cash incentive.
Companies are now having to get creative and make some significant investments to help find places for their employees to live.
Sheraton Steamboat Resort and property management company Resort Group have caught breaks in recent years by leasing entire sections of defunct hotels for their workers.
“Thank goodness we still have the Alpiner,” Resort Group President Mark Walker said as he described how the downtown lodge has housed a good portion of his 80 seasonal workers.
Without the former hotel, Walker said the company would likely have to shuttle workers to and from Craig.
Miller said the ski area started a workforce housing match program last year but didn’t find much success without offering a cash incentive.
Property owners who have rooms they could rent to ski area employees can contact Housing Manager Alison Brodie at email@example.com or 970-871-5133.
The landlord applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The program only applies to workers currently on the ski area’s housing waitlist and not ski area employees who are already renting a room elsewhere in Steamboat Springs.
And because many of the seasonal ski area workers who come to Steamboat for the winter don’t come with transportation, the housing would likely need to be in the city limits or in an area that is close to public transportation.
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