Despite its incredible beauty, North Lake Tahoe faces challenges comparable to any city. Often, we lack the resources that are available to our larger urban centers to help address these challenges. Complex housing challenges affect the broad spectrum of residents in our community. The question is do we simply wring our hands or do we fearlessly commit to moving forward together to find solutions?
While honoring our region as an international tourist attraction, community partners are committed to serving the human beings who are the fabric of North Lake Tahoe. This predicament is not unique to our region. Housing issues affect all facets of society and there is no single solution.
An effort was made in 2008 to tackle the regional housing issues. While remnants of that work are woven into the partnerships and strategies of today, the economic downturn and challenges to sustain the work derailed the project before fully realizing its potential. More complete solutions are essential to the long-term health and vitality of our community.
At a November 2014 meeting facilitated by the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (CCTT), a program of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), partners from community agencies expressed how housing seemed to be at the root of many of their clients’ needs across all their agencies. On the heels of that meeting, institutional partners approached TTCF explored an unprecedented regional collaboration to understand the true needs and possible solutions to this regional crisis. The study will attempt to capture all aspects of housing issues in the North Lake Tahoe region.
With TTCF as a neutral convener, key stakeholders envisioned creating a baseline assessment of our regional housing needs and identifying innovative solutions along the way. The hope is to ascertain a full spectrum of solutions that touch upon the complexity of our residents’ needs.
Resource partners made up of Town of Truckee, Placer County, Nevada County and Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe have come to the table with over $170,000 and all partners have committed the next year to a two part project plan. We have hired Bay Area Economics (BAE) to run a comprehensive Needs Assessment Study. Working alongside this collaboration, TTCF and CCTT will carry out a community engagement and storytelling plan with our community outreach partners, including Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, Family Resource Center of Truckee, North Tahoe Family Resource Center, Elevate Tahoe, and Truckee Tahoe Community Television, in hopes of hearing our community members’ voices. Innovations already exist in our sister mountain communities and BAE will align the most effective solutions with our region’s specific needs.
As Craig Lundin, TTCF Board Chair said at a preliminary meeting, “I’ve seen a lot of studies sit on a shelf, but I’ve never seen a big project successfully happen without a big study behind it. We need a thorough, current Needs Assessment if we are to tackle such a broad and pervasive issue.”
To implement impactful solutions we must understand our true needs. We will share updates in the coming months and expand on the study’s different elements through community forums. At those times, the community will be invited to attend and participate in the discussion.
This article first appeared on the Give Back Tahoe page in Sierra Sun on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. Check in every week as we continue to elevate our nonprofit community and share updates about pressing issues in our region.