What now? Addressing the complex issue of affordable housing (opinion)
If you feel like you have been hit over the head repeatedly with stories regarding affordable housing lately — good. It’s a problem. You can probably even go as far as to say it’s a crisis.
I attended the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals (TRYP) Town Hall on affordable housing Wednesday evening and there was a great turnout. While there were so many things discussed, it poses the question: now what? Where do we go from here?
The housing issue is an extremely complex issue. You had everything being discussed from looking at development opportunities, to what can be done about skyrocketing rents, to senior housing, to even discussions around whether or not tiny houses could be a solution. It was all over the map — and there were probably a dozen more topics that could have been discussed.
With so many cogs turning, it’s difficult to even know where to start. Sue Novasel, El Dorado County Supervisor, threw out the idea of starting a task force that could begin to look at these issues in hopes to find some real, tangible solutions — a great idea.
While this is indeed a place to start, I would argue that the most important place to start has already started — it’s awareness. However, this step is still not over. We need more people educated about the issues. We need more people with ideas on potential solutions. We need more people with a willingness to find simple solutions to a complex problem. In short, we need you. We need the community. Evidenced by the turnout Wednesday evening, we’re getting there.
Look, there will always be differences of opinion, but the key to finding a solution is putting down the pitchforks and listening. It’s the only way we’re going to get everything on the table that’s important enough to get to where the most effective solutions can be found.
Global solutions are rarely developed in a silo. I would argue that the best solutions come from passionate people who share ideas and concerns and collaborate on the best outcome that gets them to the end goal. Or easier put, the more brains, the better. However, it can easily turn the other way and we can become our own worst enemy. In this case, we cannot. The issue is too important.
The housing issue is a springboard into workforce and labor issues. We have families who are over-crowded in small living spaces because they can’t afford to live in anything better. Many of these families work multiple jobs and still can’t make a dent in their American Dream.
There are so many tangents that we can go on with this issue, but the thing to keep in mind is that so many of them are tied at the hip with affordable housing. If we do not put a concentrated effort into solving this challenge, it’s just going to get worse.
The good thing is that there are some very passionate people in the community that want to be part of the change. They want to live the American Dream here in Tahoe. They will be the ones that can make a difference — but they cannot do it alone.
Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-542-8046.