Written By Tim Hauserman
This is the second of four posts about what the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation does to better the North Tahoe-Truckee region and how you might get involved with their efforts
Finding and being able to afford long-term housing in the Tahoe Truckee area has been a gargantuan challenge for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic made it even worse. Last spring, as Bay Area folks began skedaddling to the mountains to become Zoom workers, a buying frenzy led to a 45% increase in real estate sales and a 70% increase in median home prices over the past year. In addition, some of the homes purchased were formerly occupied by long-term, local workforce renters, and now are occupied by new residents and second home owners, further lowering the supply of workforce housing.
However, it is important to remember that we are not alone. COVID has dealt a devastating blow to the supply of housing for locals in just about every recreational community around the country. So what can we do about it?
Since 2017, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation has been involved in the creation of more than 500 achievable homes in the Tahoe Truckee region (check out the latest stats on this housing tracker). To jump-start the housing effort, the foundation formed the Mountain Housing Council, a collaboration of 28 community, business, nonprofit and governmental partners with a common goal of accelerating housing solutions. It’s not easy or simple. It requires governmental entities, as well as private companies and nonprofits, to reevaluate their practices and make sometimes uncomfortable changes to make new housing happen.
TTCF also assisted in the development of the Landing Locals program, which provides incentives for homeowners to switch from short-term to long-term rentals, strives to relieve owner’s concerns by vetting potential tenants and provides ongoing property management. Landing Locals was created through the TTCF’s Housing Solutions Fund which works with private donors, including the Martis Fund, to assist in creating housing solutions. This fund was also integral to the creation of the Truckee Artist Loft project that will soon provide 76 units in downtown Truckee designed for local low-wage earners.
We are all connected by community issues…
If you shop in a supermarket, eat in a restaurant, drive on plowed roads, or hope that a call to 911 will quickly bring a firefighter to your door, you are directly connected to the housing shortage. If the people you depend on cannot find a reasonable place to live, it affects whether a restaurant can stay open and the plow driver or firefighter, who had to move to Reno, can get to work when Interstate 80 shuts down during a snowstorm. The housing shortage is a crisis, and we all need to be part of the solution.
Here are a few ways that you can help:
- Give to the TTCF Housing Solutions Fund. It will leverage your resources to create projects such as the Artist Lofts and other on-the-ground housing solutions, providing much needed housing for those who work in our communities.
- Convert your second home or vacation rental property into a long-term rental for our workforce. Learn More.
- Are you a long term renter? Keep your credit in order and take extra good care of the property you are renting. Not only will this provide you with the reference you need to find a new place if the property you are living in sells, but some precious long-term rentals have been taken off the rental market after they have been poorly treated by tenants.
- If you are an employer, and have the wherewithal to do so, consider providing housing for your employees. For larger companies creating on-site housing projects can ensure that you will have satisfied employees. For smaller companies, investing in a house or duplex can allow you to keep a key employee.
- Could a portion of your home or garage be converted to a long-term, accessory dwelling rental unit? Many Tahoe locals are tired of cramming into a three bedroom house with five friends and would love to rent a small studio or one bedroom.
- Are you a developer or builder? Consider creating smaller, less expensive residences for your next project.
- Interested in volunteering or learning more about the Mountain Housing Council’s efforts? E-mail Kristina Kind (Kristina@ttcf.net)
- And finally, urge your local government agencies to make achievable housing a top priority in their decision making. While funding is great, equally important is eliminating onerous bureaucratic red tape that can add so much cost and time to a project it makes it infeasible.
Bio: Tim Hauserman is almost a local since he has lived in North Tahoe since he was two years old. He is a freelance writer who wrote the official guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail and runs the Strider Glider program at Tahoe XC in Tahoe City