Summit Daily editorial: Affordable housing remains our ultimate test
On Nov. 3, Summit County voters overwhelmingly supported ballot measure 5A, which extended a much-needed funding source for affordable housing projects. A standing ovation is deserved for all who took the time to write a letter of support or cast a ballot.
However, as County Commissioner Thomas Davidson has indicated, we are far from finished.
“This doesn’t solve our problems on the housing front by any means,” he said, “but it does keep some very useful tools in our toolbox. We still have a lot of work ahead when it comes to funding projects that put affordable units on the ground in the numbers this community needs.”
He’s right. Despite having a funding mechanism that has generated more than $13 million since 2007, we’re far from meeting our housing demands. Rents continue to rise faster than national trends across Colorado ($2,000 is the average price for a two bedroom in Boulder, for example) and, almost daily, we hear anecdotes about how people struggle mightily to make it here. The college students with full financial aide to attend Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge left because they can’t afford housing, is one example.
Breckenridge Town Council has shown strong leadership on this issue. In its proposed 2016 budget, the town is looking to shift an additional $1 million funds toward workforce housing, which Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe rightly identified as the top issue.
“Workforce or affordable housing was the stated priority,” she said. “Breckenridge is a leader in the county for the creation of workforce housing, and yet, we are still far from meeting the demand, especially in the rental market.”
But affordable housing isn’t just a town government problem. Every major stakeholder and employer must take a leadership role on the issue. That includes the school district, CMC, Vail Resorts and grocery store chains, just to name a few.
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