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Steamboat Springs Chamber surveys seasonal housing for one of four new working groups

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is surveying its members to find out how many are able to make housing available to seasonal employees.
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Meet housing working group leaders

What: “Coffee and a Newspaper: The Steamboat Pilot and Today invites the public to attend as it hosts some of the leaders of the Housing Working Groups formed to help the city and the county assess housing needs and solutions.

When: 7:30 to 9 a.m., Aug. 3

Where: Steamboat Pilot and Today community room, 1901 Curve Plaza

— Some of Steamboat Springs’ larger resort companies are in a position to offer rental housing to seasonal workers, but it can be a strain for smaller companies. Now, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is circulating a survey among its members to help the community’s new Housing Steering Committee collect baseline data on the gap between supply and demand.

“Generally, when you decide to invest in housing, you’re going to borrow money,” said Jim Clark, CEO of the Chamber Resort Association. “You’re either going to depreciate it or put it under debt (on your balance sheet) for 25 or 30 years. Some companies are working on pretty thin margins, so making those investments is difficult.”

Meet housing working group leaders

What: “Coffee and a Newspaper: The Steamboat Pilot and Today invites the public to attend as it hosts some of the leaders of the Housing Working Groups formed to help the city and the county assess housing needs and solutions.

When: 7:30 to 9 a.m., Aug. 3

Where: Steamboat Pilot and Today community room, 1901 Curve Plaza

It’s only the largest companies here that can afford to do that Clark explained.

The Chamber, with its database of local companies, was the logical choice to execute the survey for the newly formed Seasonal Housing Working Group, which held its first meeting last week, he said.

“We’re just trying to find out demand versus supply and see what’s locked up,” Clark said July 28.

The seasonal housing group, chaired by Karen Goedert, resort manager for One Steamboat Place, is one of four groups charged with taking on an eight-week study and submitting its findings to the Housing Steering Committee formed by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. The other three working groups are studying low-income, entry-level and “move-up” housing.

Clark pointed out that in the case of the seasonal housing market, Steamboat is competing directly with the other mountain resort towns and their ability to provide housing. It isn’t like people planning to spend a winter or two in a ski town have formed a loyalty to one resort over another.

Sometimes housing even trumps powder.

“This whole community housing discussion is going to get really interesting because we have to deal with it on four levels, and you have to decide which ones you can address,” Clark predicted.

He said It may be that the seasonal housing market might evolve into a transportation issue facilitating the ability of seasonal workers to commute from nearby towns like Hayden, he ventured.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.


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