Artificial intelligence system ChatGPT thinks it can help solve Summit County’s housing affordability problems |

Artificial intelligence system ChatGPT thinks it can help solve Summit County’s housing affordability problems

The system, built by OpenAi and launched last November, allows users to interact using a question-and-answer format

Libby Stanford/Summit Daily News archive
The Dillon Valley Vistas development is pictured from Straight Creek Drive on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. In just a few minutes, ChatGPT attempted to solve Summit County's housing affordability problem. Most of its suggestions are projects Summit County government and local towns have already implemented.
Libby Stanford/Summit Daily News archive

Have you ever heard of ChatGPT? 

The system is a language model powered by artificial intelligence that was developed by OpenAI and released last November. In the last six months or so, it’s made waves in national media because of how it’s built and how it interacts with users. The system understands questions and delivers human-like responses.

Think of it like Google, but when you type in a question, it delivers answers within a matter of seconds. 

We asked ChatGPT how it would describe itself to those who may not be familiar with artificial intelligence.

“I am ChatGPT, a computer program that can talk with people and answer their questions,” the program wrote. “I’ve been trained on lots of information, so I can help people learn new things or get information on a wide range of topics.” 

ChatGPT only has access to information dating before September 2021. Even still, we asked ChatGPT a few questions about Summit County, specifically about the community’s affordable housing issue, to see how well it knows the community. Readers can decide how well it answered for themselves. 

ChatGPT/Courtesy photo
A screenshot of OpenAI’s ChatGPT conversation with Summit Daily News’ Jenna deJong shows how the system interacts with users.
ChatGPT/Courtesy photo

Summit Daily News (SDN): I’d like you to tell me what you know about modern-day Summit County, Colorado. 

ChatGPT: I can tell you that Summit County is located in the central part of the state and is home to several ski resorts, including Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain. The county has a population of around 31,000 people and is known for its stunning mountain scenery, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a thriving tourism industry.

Summit County has a rich history, with evidence of human habitation dating back over 10,000 years. The area was originally inhabited by Ute and Arapaho Native American tribes and later became a hub for mining and logging in the late 1800s.

In more recent times, Summit County has experienced significant growth and development, with a strong focus on sustainability and environmental conservation. The county is also known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year.

SDN: What is the biggest problem that Summit County is facing right now? 

ChatGPT: Like many resort towns, Summit County is facing a significant shortage of affordable housing, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for housing has increased, while the supply of affordable housing has remained limited, leading to rising housing costs and homelessness. This issue affects not only the local workforce but also impacts the quality of life for residents and the overall economic vitality of the community.

Summit County has taken several steps to address the housing affordability crisis, such as investing in affordable housing projects and implementing policies to encourage the development of affordable housing units. However, the issue remains a significant challenge for the community, and more efforts are needed to ensure that everyone has access to safe, affordable housing.

SDN: How can Summit County solve its housing affordability crisis?

ChatGPT: The housing affordability crisis is a complex issue, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are several strategies that Summit County and other communities can consider to address the problem:

  • Increase the supply of affordable housing: One of the most effective ways to address the housing affordability crisis is to increase the supply of affordable housing. This can be done through a variety of means, such as incentivizing developers to build more affordable housing units, providing subsidies or tax breaks to developers, or zoning for more mixed-income housing.
  • Protect existing affordable housing: Another important strategy is to preserve and protect existing affordable housing units. This can be done through policies that limit rent increases, provide eviction protections or incentivize landlords to keep rents affordable.
  • Support the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs): ADUs are small, separate living spaces on a property that can provide affordable housing options for renters. Summit County and other communities can encourage the creation of ADUs through zoning changes, financing programs and other incentives.
  • Provide housing assistance programs: Housing assistance programs, such as rental assistance or down payment assistance, can help low-income families and individuals afford housing. Summit County and other communities can work with local organizations and government agencies to provide these programs.
  • Address systemic issues: The housing affordability crisis is often rooted in systemic issues, such as income inequality and lack of access to affordable healthcare. Addressing these issues through policy changes and social programs can help alleviate the pressure on the housing market and make it easier for people to afford housing.

These strategies are not exhaustive, and each community will need to tailor their approach to their specific needs and resources. However, by working together and implementing a variety of solutions, Summit County and other communities can make progress toward addressing the housing affordability crisis.

SDN: What if Summit County is already doing a lot of the suggestions that you provided when it comes to solving its affordable housing crisis? What else can it do to help alleviate this problem? 

ChatGPT: If Summit County is already implementing some of the strategies to address the affordable housing crisis, there are still some additional steps it can take to alleviate this problem:

  • Encouraging mixed-use development: Encouraging mixed-use development can help to increase the supply of affordable housing in Summit County. Mixed-use developments typically combine residential units with commercial or retail spaces, creating more diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. Encouraging developers to incorporate affordable housing units into mixed-use developments can help to increase the availability of affordable housing in Summit County.
  • Creating a housing trust fund: Creating a housing trust fund is another strategy that Summit County can use to address the affordable housing crisis. Housing trust funds are public-private partnerships that are used to finance the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing units. By creating a housing trust fund, Summit County can attract additional private investment and leverage public funds to create more affordable housing units.
  • Supporting co-housing and co-op models: Co-housing and co-op models can help to make housing more affordable by allowing residents to share living spaces and expenses. Encouraging the development of co-housing and co-op models in Summit County can help to make housing more affordable and create more community-oriented neighborhoods.
  • Providing down payment assistance: Down payment assistance programs can help to make homeownership more accessible for low- and moderate-income households. By providing down payment assistance, Summit County can help more residents to become homeowners and build equity in their homes.
  • Increasing public-private partnerships: Summit County can increase public-private partnerships to attract more developers and investors to the area. Public-private partnerships can help to leverage public funds with private investment, creating more affordable housing options for residents.

Implementing these strategies can help to further alleviate the affordable housing crisis in Summit County and make the area more accessible to residents of all income levels.

SDN: According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the top growing occupations in Summit County are waiter and waitresses, retail salespersons, cooks, fast food and counter workers, and maids and housekeeping cleaners. All of these occupations have an estimated annual salary of $26,759 to $36,059. How do you suggest folks in low-paying jobs afford a high-cost home in Summit County? 

ChatGPT: The challenge of affordable housing for low-paying jobs is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted solution. Here are some suggestions that may help individuals working in low-paying jobs to afford a high-cost home in Summit County:

  • Expand affordable housing: This can be achieved through incentives for developers to build more affordable units, zoning regulations that require a percentage of units to be affordable, and public-private partnerships to finance affordable housing developments.
  • Encourage shared living: Shared living arrangements, such as co-housing and co-op models, can help individuals afford housing by sharing living spaces and expenses. Summit County can encourage the development of these types of living arrangements by providing support and incentives to developers.
  • Increase access to affordable financing: Summit County can increase access to affordable financing options for low-income residents by partnering with banks and credit unions to offer low-interest loans or down payment assistance programs.
  • Provide rent control: Summit County can consider implementing rent control policies to help stabilize rental prices for low-income workers.
  • Increase wages: Employers in Summit County can work to increase wages for low-paying jobs to help workers afford housing. Additionally, Summit County can advocate for policies at the state level to increase the minimum wage.
  • Expand public transit: Expanding public transit options in Summit County can help low-income workers save money on transportation costs, making it more affordable for them to live further away from job centers.

It is important to note that addressing the affordable housing crisis in Summit County is a complex issue that requires the involvement and cooperation of multiple stakeholders, including government, developers, employers, and community members. A multifaceted approach that combines multiple strategies is necessary to ensure that low-income workers can afford housing in the area.

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