There’s a significant housing crisis in Truckee – Tahoe. It’s being addressed in various ways, but the human toll has been high.
The problems aren’t simple or one-dimensional, and they extend all over the North Lake Tahoe region. Affordable housing—just plain housing, in many respects—isn’t a problem that only the Truckee and North Lake Tahoe communities are facing; but it’s here, in our community, and it’s important we all be aware of it. There is, fortunately, a serious study that has begun this year: the 2016 Regional Housing Study. A number of concerned partners have stepped up to the plate, including the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), the Town of Truckee, Placer and Nevada counties, and others. They have a mandate, and they have funds to work with. Their goal is to establish a “regional baseline” so strategies to help people in need can be adopted. If you’re interested in reading more about the Study, how it came to be, who the major stakeholders are, and the values and resources they’re sharing, please visit this TTCF Web page.
People, real people, are behind the current push to find housing solutions. A few of their stories, quite a few, have been told in a very recent post on Moonshine Ink. Various writers contributed to the research and content, and the stories are sobering and important enough to have a look. Here is just a small sampling, with inspiration and information taken from the Moonshine Ink article:
- Amanda, her husband, and their little baby girl are “looking [for a house] every 5 to 10 minutes”. Through various misadventures, she and her baby have ended up staying in a room of their former landlord’s house.
- Dominic, who moved “to Lake Tahoe on a whim”, has now run out of ideas; even just to find a room to rent. He’s asked everyone he’s met. His wages allow him, he feels, to spend $600 a month for accommodation. Most everything he’s seen is priced at $900 a month or more. Fortunately for him, he’s staying upstairs in studio space his employer makes available to employees to crash in, in emergencies.
- Since moving into the North Tahoe/Truckee area from Vermont in 2008, Tim has lived in a dozen different places. A “persistent” man, Tim eventually ended up living in the Courtside Apartments at Squaw Valley. He lives with three roommates, and they sleep in bunkbeds.
Besides the concerted, municipal and regional organized effort that’s going on, people like David Kelly are making a difference. Thus far, 73 year-old Kelly has facilitated three housing units in South Lake, including the Tahoe Senior Plaza, for low-income seniors. Kelly, who himself is disabled, helped to get Sky Forest Acres built; it’s an 18-unit apartment complex especially for people with disabilities. He understands. He’s lived in an affordable housing unit with his wife, just outside of South Lake, for 30 years.
We’ve mentioned a few names of real people who are affected by our housing dilemma or are helping address it. The statistics—the numbers—behind these and so many more people are scary. Here are just a few, taken from the Moonshine Ink article:
- Our cost of living is 10 times more than the national average.
- Almost half the people living here pay 30+ percent or more of their income for housing.
- Over 42 percent of the workforce work in low-paying food service jobs.
So these stories not only need to be addressed, they also need to be told to a larger audience. Awareness is one of the keys that will help us get things done. There’s the current Study, and it will help. And there’s a formal project underway to “tell the story”. A number of partners have formed Elevate Tahoe (you can visit their Facebook page here). They’re putting together a few two-minute video segments to help highlight the issues. The first of these, The Housing for the People project, is currently in pre-production.
You can help others address this very real issue by visiting the various websites we’ve talked about, and of course, by lending your support where you can.