COMMUNITY HOUSING: It’s a balancing act.

By September 14, 2017News, Publications

One might argue that Community Housing programs are unnecessary. ” Let the free market forces level the playing field; do not engage in social engineering,” is the cry heard most often. The problem with that point of view is that in order for the fee market to address the problem, wages, and therefore prices of everything from lift tickets to property taxes would need to triple.

Alternatively, we can take advantage of federal housing programs (for which we have already paid with federal taxes) to deliver housing to the work force.

Community Housing programs are designed to provide affordable workforce housing for individuals and families living in a community in which the cost of shelter has out-paced their ability to comfortably afford it. In the Wood River Valley shelter costs consume more than the accepted guideline of 30% of a family’s income in 45% of all households. Community housing programs also add a supply of housing to a market that has become out of balance by an overabundance of large second homes with housing that is affordable to those who earn average wages. ARCH like most Community Housing programs offers both ownership and rental options.

The stability of any economy requires a broad base of economic activity. The three major ingredients for developing a robust economy are

1) a good educational system—CHECK

2) reasonably priced transportation to and from the area—CHECK

3) affordable housing for the middle-class wage earner—NO CHECK

The Blaine County School District and private schools in the area offer the best educational opportunities in Idaho. Great strides have been made to increase the availability of air service at competitive prices over the past five years including new instrumentation at Friedman will increase reliability.

Reasonably priced housing remains the greatest obstacle to economic diversity and enhanced stability within Blaine County.