Partnerships and progress for housing at Lake Tahoe (Opinion)
In 2018, the Tahoe Prosperity Center convened the Housing Tahoe Partnership to bring the right partners to the table and focus on housing solutions that would have a lasting positive impact for the community. The result of this effort was the Housing Needs and Opportunities Assessment, followed by the South Shore Region Local Resident Housing Action Plan, which outlines 20 short and long term strategies to address our unique housing market.
The action plan was completed in early March and since then the world was turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Tahoe region, including South Lake Tahoe, saw an unprecedented number of people moving here permanently or at least semi-permanently as they could now work remotely from anywhere. Given this new housing dynamic, does our action plan still hold water? Yes.
Thanks to the committed efforts of all of the participating South Shore jurisdictions, regulatory agencies, nonprofits, employers and regional organizations, plus input from the public and technical assistance from consultants, the action plan is moving full steam ahead. And the recent changes to our housing market don’t negate the need for any of the strategies outlined in the plan, but rather exemplify exactly why these strategies are so important.
The action plan defines the overall housing needs for our community as dwellings of all types for those who live or work in the South Shore region can afford to purchase or rent, serving the entire range of households and incomes. As people with telecommuting jobs that pay more than our area median income, having solutions that are attainable for everyone in our community couldn’t be more important.
1,880 — that’s the number of below market homes we need in the South Shore by 2026 to meet the current and future expected demand. This isn’t to say that we need to build that many, that is how many we need total, and that could include things like motel conversions, accessory dwelling units, second homes becoming available as long term rentals, in addition to new construction. The expectation for new construction is 150 units per year. Fortunately, there are some incredible projects already in the works.
The Riverside Avenue Project — three permanently affordable homes for ownership, held by the Saint Joseph Community Land Trust, are available to households earning no more than 120% of area median income.
Ski Run and Pioneer Workforce Housing — 77 affordable units for households earning no more than 80% area median income.
Sugar Pine Village — New residential, mixed-use affordable community that will be designed to provide residents with high quality, sustainable housing that will support active transportation, encouraging biking, walking, access to transit and connection with nearby trails for the local workforce and their families.
Each of these projects is a valuable step in the right direction, to preserve our local workforce by adding housing that’s affordable to everyone. Providing enough housing for our local workforce in this special and alluring environment is no small task, and thanks to the efforts of all the partners in the Housing Tahoe Partnership and the dedicated support of our community, we can do this.
For more information or to help support the Tahoe Prosperity Centers efforts please visit our website tahoeprosperity.org/housing-tahoe/.
Chase Janvrin is the Program Manager for the Tahoe Prosperity Center and oversees the Housing Tahoe Partnership project. He has a background in real estate and finance and lives in South Lake Tahoe with his family
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