Housing group focuses goals | SierraSun.com

Housing group focuses goals

Scott Hess

The Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe board of directors defined its goals last Monday, deciding to act as an advocacy group for affordable housing for employed area residents.

WHATT said there is not enough affordable housing in the Truckee Tahoe area, a problem it hopes to reduce.

Without clear goals, WHATT was having a hard time fulfilling its overall mission statement. After deliberation and presentations from the California Coalition for Rural Housing and Fannie May, the board of directors decided, as an advocacy group with a purpose focused on housing for employed residents, they can achieve their goals.

Bringing up several options in his presentation to the WHATT board, Rural Housing’s Dewey Bandy pointed out that WHATT could become either broad, focused or narrow purpose, and could become a service provider, advocacy, developer, specialized or resource group.

After deliberation, the board decided it wished to help many people, but could only help a limited number, so it decided on a focused purpose.

The main reason WHATT decided to become an advocacy group, board members said, was because there are already enough service provider groups in the area, and they did not want to compete. WHATT said by educating and advocating, they could lead residents to the right service provider(s).

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With those decisions in place, WHATT Executive Director Joe Guzm+n said WHATT will serve the area between Incline Village and Truckee. “(We are here to) educate and advocate in regards to the severity of affordable housing,” he said.

Their overall goals are: “to educate employers, employees and the community on the need for affordable workforce housing; to advocate policies, plans and initiatives that result in a community environment committed to solving the workforce housing needs; and to expand workforce housing availability in the Truckee Tahoe region.”

The group is comprised of business owners from around the area, including Breeze Cross from the Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company, Ruth Frishman, a local attorney, and Hershel Deardorff from the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, who are on the executive committee.

The directors of WHATT are Joe Burns from the Contractors’ Association of Truckee Tahoe, Theresa May Duggan from the North Tahoe Business Association, Debbie Kelly-Hogan from Northstar-at-Tahoe, Roger Lessman from East West Partners, Kappy Mann from the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors, Ron McIntyre from the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, Karen Sessler from the Tahoe Forest Hospital District and Ralph Johnson from the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

Now that it has its purpose and goals lined up, WHATT will begin advocating, educating and raising money. At least for now, Guzm+n says WHATT is in good shape. “We currently have enough funds to operate at our current level until September,” he said.

The Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe can be found at http://www.whatt.org and meetings are the second Monday of each month at 4 p.m., usually at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District office.