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.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
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Kudos to Laurine Lasselle for her well-written, well-researched article interpreting the data from the 2020 census (“2020 census data highlights relationship among resort communities, downvalley locales,” Aspen Journalism).