You can’t ignore Aspen’s worker-housing crisis |

You can’t ignore Aspen’s worker-housing crisis

While the Aspen City Council and the Pitkkin County board of health debate and equivocate over new mask mandates, some locals are peering out behind their masks and seeing the high-speed freight train barreling towards us from another direction.

I’m not talking about COVID-19, or the stock market bubble, or whatever it is being argued about over the Wheeler Opera House’s money. I’m referring to an age-old Aspen problem that has recently gone from bad, to category 5 shitstorm — in a few short months. Aspen’s affordable-housing crisis has quietly been accelerating at a rate that’s allowed it to metastasize throughout the valley. A look at today’s classifieds in the Aspen newspapers reveals exactly seven rentals listed for under $4,000 a month — in the entire Roaring Fork Valley!

Meanwhile, on every Aspen-related Facebook group page there are three times more people seeking housing than offering it. J1 Visas must be back in style, because a fleet of new Aspen Skiing Co. hires are clogging up the message boards with requests for housing, written in broken English and copied/pasted ad nauseum. This is a tsunami of a problem about to hit us broadside as we argue about COVID-19, and what to charge restaurants for a square foot of sidewalk. Local leaders with secured housing (subsidized or otherwise) need to wake up to the real problem threatening the ski season. A resort can’t provide world-class service if the only people left in town are here to be served.

Christy Yoest


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