Colorado mountain town asks locals to open up their homes to teachers |

Colorado mountain town asks locals to open up their homes to teachers

Eagle County School District is pleading with area residents to offer vacant spaces to educators at rates they can afford and will even matchmake teachers and property owners

Erica Breunlin
The Colorado Sun
Eagle Valley Middle School math teacher Brian Trommater assists an eighth grade student, Kelsie Betgstreser, during class on Thursday in Eagle. Trommater, like several other local educators, struggled to find affordable housing. He said he felt lucky to find a small one-bedroom apartment in the town of Gypsum.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

EAGLE — Brian Trommater’s bedroom window opens up to a view of mountain slopes peeking out from behind clusters of trees, giving him a vantage point that often leaves him dazed by the thought that he’s living a dream.

It’s an expansive backdrop for an otherwise tiny place to call home: His apartment covers about 375 square feet and doesn’t have a closet. But the middle school math teacher has everything he needs in his new space and he says he is relieved to have found a reasonably priced spot in Eagle County School District, where just 6% of homes are affordable to educators earning the average teacher salary, according to data compiled by the Keystone Policy Center.

“You will have to make a sacrifice and you will have to get lucky,” Trommater, 44, said.

His struggle to find an affordable place to live is one shared by many teachers across Colorado. Even though average teacher salaries in Colorado have jumped by about 25% in the past seven years, fewer than one-fifth of homes are within reach of teachers who make an average salary in their district.

In Eagle County, the lack of affordable housing has become so severe that the superintendent in July sent a letter to community members pleading with them to open their homes and any vacant rooms and spaces they own to educators desperate for a place to live. The letter, mailed out to all property owners in the county, was the district’s latest — and perhaps most creative — attempt to expand the housing stock affordable to its employees. The district also is constructing a 37-unit apartment building for educators and support staff. Meanwhile, some educators in the district have turned to Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley to become homeowners.


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