Aspen must house its workforce
I’m writing in strong favor of the affordable housing project that is under discussion with the county, and feel that Mick Ireland’s commentary Feb. 22 in the Daily News of hit the nail on the head. It addresses many of the problems of not only affordable housing in our valley, but the disheartening change to the unique character of our town by the tearing down of what was the heart of our town and uniqueness of this place we all moved to.
For those who live in this town still, they either purchased homes or condos in the early ’70s or ’80s, or have been lucky enough to have won a lottery for affordable housing. Most workers here now live in Carbondale, Glenwood, or Rifle, and many commute up to well over 100 miles a day driving from Rifle to work at our post offices, do electrical work, construction, and landscaping, as well as stocking shelves in our groceries, washing dishes in our restaurants, and cleaning hotel rooms. Of all these workers whom we know or hire, I know of not one that I wouldn’t be comfortable having live next to us. They are family oriented, not drug addicts, pot smokers, or party people. They are less likely to cause problems than many of those second- and third-home owners that refuse to wear masks, fly their caterers in for a party, and feel entitled.
This town needs more affordable housing, both rentals and sales. If we want to have good jobs, services and a reliable working population, we need to find a way to avoid the billionaires (millionaires can’t afford it here anymore) from destroying the incredible, beautiful and diverse town we all moved here to live, work and play in. We want to keep this town available to all that have the desire and will to work as much as it takes to live here, not to those who consider it an investment to their portfolios and use their homes here a few weeks a year or rent them out for $3,000 per night or more.
Please, let’s get real and keep a workforce here that can actually live here! We desperately need it.