Real estate broker Ann Abernethy’s recent piece in the Aspen Daily News was an excellent summary of all that Aspen has to offer — for those who can afford it. Abernethy touched on Aspen’s “growing pains” with a nod to our ongoing labor shortage. How could a town with so much to offer struggle to attract workers? Well, for all that Aspen has to offer in terms of natural beauty and luxury, it has very little to offer in terms of affordable housing.
Just this week, the state proposed injecting a historic $40 million into local affordable housing efforts. House Bill 1282 is an unprecedented investment towards solving this issue, and Aspen Daily News readers should know about it. In my 25 years in Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley this is the strongest effort yet by the state and our governor to spur the creation and preservation of affordable housing. We are also seeing innovative funding streams open up for cities to access, like the use of lodging tax revenue to help local governments address housing, childcare, and other needs in communities — along with the traditional use of promoting tourism.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for cities and counties to increase our stock of affordable housing. Fortunately, this new effort is all about empowering local governments and embracing local solutions. Gov. Polis and state lawmakers have opened a window of opportunity for local governments across Colorado to address their housing needs. It’s time we jump through it.