Middle-class crisis in housing | SierraSun.com

Middle-class crisis in housing

It is not just low-wage employees that Truckee struggles to retain. Moderate-income families looking to purchase a home are almost completely priced out of Truckee’s housing market.

A recent survey completed by Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe showed that many employers are struggling to keep even their top executive managers.

“The implication for us is huge because we’re losing employees,” said Jim Sayer, president of the Sierra Business Council. “We’re really worried about losing the middle class in the Sierra Nevada.”

The Sierra Business Council’s conference on affordable housing on Thursday looked at the loss of the middle class in the Sierra and ways to attack the housing problem that is changing the face of mountain communities.

The astronomical rise in real estate prices has outpaced income increases by a long shot, leaving the middle class out of the housing game. While subsidies and restrictions make some rental housing affordable for those earning low wages, moderate income families are caught between subsidized housing and market-rate housing – unable to qualify for one and incapable of affording the other.

“There is this picture in California of us becoming the have’s and the have not’s,” said Diane Spaulding, executive director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. “People’s income has failed to keep pace.”

As Truckee sees its firemen, police officers and teachers forced to live in surrounding areas like Reno, town officials hope that new development such as Gray’s Crossing, Winter Creek and The Boulders will help house the workforce.

While housing at these projects will still be relatively expensive, they will hopefully fill the middle-income housing gap that has been driving moderate to above-moderate income families out of town.

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