You don’t have to be a broke ass ski bum to feel the housing pinch in Colorado’s high country where officials are considering drastic measures to fill the gap. Summit County and local towns are considering an emergency declaration to help address the local affordable housing shortage and emphasize the increasingly dire circumstances of the issue to state and federal partners. Vail Daily reports Commissioner Tamara Pogue said the county is already drafting language for a declaration and is hoping to make the move in conjunction with local towns.

“I’ve been working on housing in Summit County for 15 years, and this is far and away the worst I’ve ever seen it. I think it actually is connected to things that happened in our community during the pandemic. We know that a lot of folks moved into our community full time. … I think that has significantly impacted our housing stock, and has contributed to the tightness in the market and the availability of workforce housing that we currently don’t have.So I think we have to call it what it is. … This isn’t a new problem for us. But it is significantly worse than it’s ever been. Prices are higher, availability is lower, and there are more people living here.” – Commissioner Tamara Pogue 

According to the most recent Summit County Housing Needs Update published in March 2020, there is a countywide gross gap of more than 1,200 housing units, a number that’s expected to more than double by 2023. Officials hope the emergency declaration will bring more people to the table to find solutions, including short-term rental owners who might be swayed to try long-term renting once the impacts of the workforce shortage begin to manifest this summer or business owners who might work with developers to build more housing for their own employees.

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