Letter to the Editor: Summit County must acknowledge the areas in which it is lacking

Angelo Winings
Summit County

While appreciating the beauty of Summit County, we must also acknowledge the areas in which it is lacking. You don’t have to go far to stumble upon seasonal workers griping about Airbnbs and vacation homes causing a lack of housing. The effects of this have placed many residents unable to find affordable and safe housing. In response, Summit County implemented short-term rental regulations that work to identify and limit the number of these short-term rentals. However, this has had minimal effect on safe and affordable housing even though there is reported to be almost 32,000 housing units for a population of about 30,000 residents. 

I am writing this to raise awareness and to start a conversation on what needs to be done to solve this issue. My goal is not to contribute to the pool of complaints. The county has tried to provide millions of dollars of tax revenue towards attainable housing initiatives as well as increasing accessibility through transportation and safe rest stop areas. Having the chance to hop on the summit stage and not be a popsicle is a luxury these programs have now provided this community. Yet, this luxury fades away as soon as we step off the bus to return to a three-bedroom home filled with 6 residents, or employee housing where a random person may be on your couch every night.

A housing plan released by the county focuses on incentivizing owners, but so far this has not done much for those who are not current homeowners in the area. My hope is that we see incentives given to the individuals that are continuously paying rent and surviving on low-wage jobs. By doing this, we could eliminate the hardships of survival and focus more on the memories that are made doing the things we love.

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