Good living space wasted |

Good living space wasted

Dear Editor:

What a shock to see the loss of rare and valuable employee housing in the Castle Ridge fire of June 10. As a fellow Castle Ridge resident and eyewitness to the fire, I could not help but feel empathy for my neighbors as their homes were destroyed. Big thanks go out to all the members of the community who have opened their hearts and homes to our friends and neighbors left homeless by this tragedy.

I have endured my share of housing difficulties in the eight years I’ve lived here, and I completely understand Tom McCabe when he says there isn’t much the Housing Authority can do. Aspen’s real-estate brokers have made the market so ridiculously expensive that only the super-rich can afford to own property here. As a result, reasonably-priced employee housing is so rare that the loss of 10 units is significant.

The real crime here is that perfectly good living space goes largely unused by part-time “residents” who own monster homes here. Their 14,000-square-foot houses sit empty for months while Aspen’s resident employees go homeless for lack of a 500-square-foot apartment. In addition, most of the accessory dwelling units in these houses, required by the city’s building department and designed for use by employees, remain empty ” the homeowners don’t need the rent money and don’t want the hassle of tenants.

So this weekend, as you rich tourists enjoy your food and wine, think of the workers who make this city work for you. They’re people, too, and they just need a place to live.

Jason Upper