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What is Community Housing?

What is community housing?

There is no actual definition of this term. You often hear of workforce housing or affordable housing or low-income housing or public housing used interchangeably.

The Alliance thinks of community housing as housing for community members who contribute to the vibrancy of Ketchum, but who, without some kind of housing subsidy, would not be able to afford to live in Ketchum. The Mayor in his 2/3 editorial and in the FAQs he had posted to the City website calls it workforce housing and says it applies to ”teachers, police officers, firefighters and others who are integrated o a community, yet who often cannot afford to live in the communities they serve.” (City of Ketchum website).

But given how Ketchum is developing this type of housing it really applies to people who earn less than 60-120% of the area median income. So it could include a much wider group of people and could include people who do not work in Ketchum, but would prefer to live in Ketchum.

Why do we need community housing?

Because the supply of housing is outstripped by the demand in Ketchum. This has resulted in an escalation in home prices that has exceed the escalation in wages and priced many of the people who are integral to the community to have to either work multiple jobs to stay in Ketchum or to move down valley and commute.

The City has produced numerous policy statements over the past 30+ years calling for community housing, including its 2014 Comprehensive Plan (by law, the governing document for property development), which included a statement that “The Ketchum community wants the majority of people who work in Ketchum to have an opportunity ore reside [in Ketchum], and “we also want people how have lived her to be able to stay her regardless of their age. We know that a diversity of housing is critically linked to a stone economy and a year-round population.”

There has been no study done on what percentage of the people who work in Ketchum live in Ketchum. It has never been done, and no such study is planned by the City at this time (Jade Riley, 2/18).

The City staff believes (SEE THIS LINK) that short term rentals exacerbate the lack of community housing. Again, they have done no studies on this at all, instead referencing studies of resort towns in Colorado with ski in ski out type communities.

The City also asserts that business owners are putting pressure on the City for more community housing. While that may be true, there is no publicly available data on this.

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