Lake Tahoe Community College signs rental lease to provide affordable housing to 30 students | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lake Tahoe Community College signs rental lease to provide affordable housing to 30 students

FILE - Registration begins for Lake Tahoe Community College's inaugural four-year degree program.
Courtesy / LTCC

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe Community College took a step forward this week on addressing immediate student housing needs by entering into an agreement with a South Shore property owner.

The Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 28, authorized LTCC administrators to enter into a five-year lease with a local apartment building owner to provide housing to full-time students, many of whom are struggling to find and maintain a place to live, according to a press release.

“The college’s long-term goal to provide on-campus housing is still in place,” said LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco in the release. “But with this lease, LTCC can begin offering an affordable solution to today’s students.”

“This lease won’t solve the entire problem, and we know that housing costs are a growing difficulty not just for our students but for college staff and faculty as well,” said Board President Jeff Cowen. “That is in our thoughts when we discuss on-campus housing options. But what we’ve negotiated now provides a safe, clean, very affordable option for the short term while we continue to work toward a more permanent housing solution on campus.”

LTCC signed a lease with a five-plex property located on Aspen Avenue close to Ski Run Boulevard.

Ample amenities, services and public transportation are in easy reach of the property, and with LTCC’s free bus pass policy, students can get to and from campus and around town easily for free, according to the college.

Each unit has three bedrooms and a full kitchen, with one of the units planned for a fourth bedroom addition, providing housing for 30 full-time students and one on-site college residential advisor.

The lease begins July 1 and goes through June 30, 2024.

LTCC will cover all rental costs, insurance premiums, utilities, and weekly cleaning fees.

The property owner will cover the costs of water, sewer, garbage, landscaping upkeep, snow removal, and all building maintenance and repairs.

The property owner is conducting upgrades, including new energy efficient windows, upgrades to heaters, LED lighting, appliances, fresh paint and carpeting.

The complex’s parking lot will also be renovated by the end of summer, weather permitting.

The college anticipates the housing fee for students to be $675 per month per student, which includes utilities, internet, snow removal, weekly cleaning service, water, sewer and garbage. Laundry facilities are on site.

For a 10-month stay, a full-time student would pay $6,750.

Each unit will come equipped with student beds and a communal table. Other furnishings, if desired, are provided by the students.

For the 2019-20 academic year, full-time students who are federal Pell Grant eligible can receive up to $6,195 of Pell dollars that do not have to be repaid, which could cover a considerable portion of housing costs for the year.

Addressing the housing crisis is one of the major goals LTCC’s board and president established for the 2018-19 academic year.

The goal calls for an exploration of local opportunities to create a master lease to address more immediate housing needs for students.

Long term, the goal also calls for the college to serve as a leader and active participant in the Tahoe Prosperity Center’s Workforce Housing efforts, and also to act as a local and statewide advocate for student and workforce housing policies and funding.

To meet its own goals, LTCC met with a number of local apartment complex owners resulting in this new lease and worked with local real estate professionals to develop best housing practices to assist current students and employees with housing needs.

This year, LTCC also established a partnership with an outside firm called International Student Placements to provide home-stay locations for students in South Lake Tahoe.

The college also is exploring conceptual site and floor plans for an on-campus tiny home village concept as an intermediate housing solution.

According to Russi Egan, vice president of administrative services, LTCC is working on a request for a proposal process to cultivate campus residential living privately funded to bring large-scale, on-campus housing in the future.

“It will take a multi-prong effort to address this problem now and in the future — that’s the reality given the scope of the housing crisis in the Tahoe Basin and throughout California,” DeFranco said. “The board members and I all understand just how difficult it can be to get a college degree, and how housing uncertainties can really cripple a student’s ability to finish their education. That’s why housing is a major goal of mine and the board — we must address the problem head on and provide our students with good solutions.”