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December 11, 2012
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Summit County launches biggest workforce-housing survey in its history

Residents who find packets hanging on their doorknobs over the next week are being asked to participate in the largest workforce housing study ever conducted in Summit County.

Surveys will be distributed to 5,000 people by Dec. 20. Recipients are asked to complete the confidential form and return it by prepaid mail within 10 days.

The $72,000 study, a collaborative effort between town and Summit County governments, will be combined with other housing and employment data to create a road map for future affordable-housing policies and projects across the county.

"Given the last four years, the huge change in the economy, I think now it's probably more important than ever to really truly understand what is the demand, what is the appetite," Summit County manager Gary Martinez said. "Things are harder, so we need to know more accurately now than ever before how we best address those workforce-housing needs."

The last housing survey in the county was conducted in 2005.

Public-housing projects across the county are intended to address the gap between the high cost of living in the High Country and the comparatively low pay for many workforce positions. But the projects have frequently been a point of contention between supporters who deem them necessary and those who oppose government subsidies.

Results from the current housing survey are set to be released in March, and will help determine how many and what kind of affordable-housing units are still needed in the county, officials said. The survey will address the need for for-sale versus rental housing as well as price points. It will also take into account the impact of jobs on housing needs, acknowledging that no municipality is isolated and frequently people in need of housing in one part of the county are employed in another.

"There's a relationship between jobs and housing at the county level," Breckenridge planner Laurie Best said. "We want to have a survey representative of the workforce- housing situation throughout the county."

The total cost of the survey is being shared among the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne and the county government.

The survey, once completed, will also be able to be adjusted for future conditions, administrators say.

"What the consultants are going to do is create a model based on assumptions of today," Frisco community development director Jocelyn Mills said. "As things change - because they always do - we'll be able to input whatever those changes might be ... we'd be able to change and figure out the needs for housing for our workforce."

The surveys are specifically targeted at members of the Summit County workforce, who are asked to fill out the surveys and return them by mail. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate for groceries.

The survey is being conducted with RRC Associates, Inc., a third-party contractor out of Boulder.


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The Summit Daily Updated Dec 11, 2012 12:40AM Published Dec 11, 2012 12:40AM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.