Letter to the Editor: We can build our way out of the workforce housing conundrum

Julie Koster

Mr. Scott Ehler presented several points in his recent letter to the editor aimed at casting doubt about the short-term rental industry in Summit County. In addition to his claims that short-term rentals are bad business for Summit, he placed the burden of housing workers on the homeowners who support our tourism-driven economy:

“…there is no other way to keep Summit County with a viable workforce. Unfortunately, the short-term renal landlords cannot have their cake and eat it too,” he wrote. “Summit County, without enough living space for full-time employees, means there are no services for any of the short-term renters.”

Actually, there is another way out of this housing crisis. The only way to remedy the lack of housing available to local workers is to build more of it. And, that’s already happening:

These developments, and others like them, will make a significant dent in housing our locals. Placing the burden on homeowners to convert properties into long-term leases is the real estate equivalent of the mob forcing you to toss your brand new car’s keys to the nearest rally car driver and hope that they bring it back to you in one piece.

Workforce housing has been a challenge for decades. Instead of building affordable rentals, our government has relied on second-home owners to supply affordable housing to workers.

Long-term renting doesn’t work for every homeowner. Summit County is obviously not a major metro area, which means we don’t have a huge amount of housing. It’s a world-class resort destination, and along with that is going to come expensive real estate. There are other options to solve the lack of affordable housing, and, yes, we can build our way out of it.

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