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Housing takes center stage at Good Morning Truckee

Finding housing in the Truckee-Tahoe area has been a longstanding issue, but a number of local organizations are working to ease the burden of finding an affordable place to live in the region.

Tuesday’s Good Morning Truckee session featured four speakers from various organizations. They discussed what they’re doing to help find and create affordable housing for the area’s workforce.

A report released last month by the Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee showed there is an unmet need of 9,528 units, marking a 12% increase since 2016.



Much of that unmet demand is due to the resident workforce cohort, said Tara Zuardo, Mountain Housing Council project director, which saw an increase in unmet demand of nearly 600 units since 2016. The highest concentration of unmet demand is for one- and two-bedroom units.

“And that’s across the board, whether you’re looking at things regionally, in Truckee, in Placer, for any given group such as senior citizens or veterans,” said Zuardo.




Conversely, three- or more-bedroom units are the lowest in demand, making up 3% of the total resident worker household need.

“That is presumably because families who would need three-bedroom units were likely priced out of the region some time ago,” said Zuardo.

The Mountain Housing Council is a project of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, and brings together partners to create achievable housing. Zuardo said going forward the Mountain Housing Council’s priorities are to set up a Landing Locals program in every jurisdiction, work to remove limits on camping and RV occupancy on private property, push to place a moratorium or cap on short-term rentals, seek deed restricted projects, and help fund accessory dwelling unit applications.

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee will host a community meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 25, in order to share more data and lay out plans for housing in the region. For more information, visit http://www.mountainhousingcouncil.org/take-action.

LANDING LOCALS

Partnering with the Mountain Housing Council is Landing Locals, which launched out of Truckee in fall 2018, and specializes in helping property owners find vetted, locally employed tenants.

Since last November, Landing Locals has had 20 homeowners participate and 34 local employees find housing through the program, which offers cash grants for those willing to rent to a tenant.

Previously, grants were for $3,000, but Landing Locals has announced it’s expanded the program. Property owners can now make up to $10,000 when they rent their house to three regional employees or two regional employees and a child for a year-long lease. Grants also range as low as $1,000 for housing one regional employee on a three- to six-month lease.

According to CEO Colin Frolich, the short-term goal for the company is to house 100 local employees.

For more information, visit LandingLocals.com/workforcegrant.

Another group helping employees find local housing is the Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency, which represents workers from Tahoe Forest Hospital District, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Truckee Donner Public Utility District, and Truckee Tahoe Airport District.

The agency, which operates as a joint powers authority, represents roughly 2,000 employees. A recent survey released by Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency found that 43% of its members found it difficult to find housing in the area during their last or current search. The survey also found that 27% percent of members live outside of the Truckee-Tahoe area.

Going forward, Executive Director Emily Vitas said the agency will be partnering with Truckee, Nevada County, and Placer County to help their employees in finding local housing.

At the government level, Truckee officials are estimating the town will have 605 deed restricted units by the end of the year.

Housing Program Manager Seana Doherty said the town’s approach to affordable housing is to create the conditions for private investors to step forward.

“We’re not developers,” said Doherty. “In fact, we don’t actually even own very much land. So, really what we’re trying to do is create incentives, funding, policies, programs, land use plans that create the conditions for the private investment to show up.”

The approach, along with creating multiple partnerships, has led to recent projects in the area like Truckee Artist Lofts, which is currently accepting applications for some of its 76 income restricted units.

“Just to even apply to the state to get the tax credit financing for that project took a lot of local partnership, and that’s just an example of what sort of happens behind the scene to bring housing forward,” added Doherty.

Going forward, Doherty said Truckee is working on a new Below Market Rate Housing Program, which would be a tool to allow the town to buy deed restrictions from potential developers in order to preserve housing stock for long-term workforce needs.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com


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