Tahoe group meets to discuss housing issue (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe group meets to discuss housing issue (opinion)

Troy Matthews, Evon Yakar and David Orr
Tribune Guest Column

A grassroots organization called Progress for Tahoe has formed with the intention of developing real and practical solutions to the most commonly identified problems in South Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe region as a whole. On June 14, Progress for Tahoe will meet at the American Legion hall at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome and the only rule is respectful conversation where every voice is heard.

The initial meeting of Progress for Tahoe was organized off of a Facebook post that went viral. There was no agenda for the meeting. Organizers planned for a gathering of 15 friends and 50 people showed up. And from that initial gathering, five main issues were brought forward for the future of Tahoe. These five would become the pillars of the vision of Progress for Tahoe: Housing, Environment/Recreation, Mental Health, Economy and Redevelopment. At the core of each pillar is a challenge to define who we are as a community. Progress for Tahoe seeks to define Tahoe by solutions and answers instead of complaints and negativity, always with respect for the incredible change that has already occurred here and the tireless voices that have fought for and continue to fight for change.

The first pillar we will tackle on June 14 is housing. We address housing first because of the fundamental impact housing has on the other pillars. Housing is prosperity. How do we move forward in Tahoe without workforce housing? How do we sustain a growing economy if our workers can’t afford a place to live? How do we deal with the vacation home market and make it work for the most amount of people? What are the principles of development and how do we grow Tahoe through a thriving housing market? How do unhealthy and unsafe living environments, homelessness and insufficient housing impact the mental health of our community? How does the overall aesthetic of our community hinder our visitorship and how can it help? How does an aging housing infrastructure affect the environment through sediment runoff into the lake? We will attempt to answer these questions and walk away with actionable solutions that will work for the most people through a win-win mentality. We hope you can join us and lend your voice to the continuing conversation.

It is truly amazing when a grassroots group of concerned citizens joins together spontaneously to look hard at problems in their community and fight for solutions. It happens so rarely, cynics don’t even really believe it is possible. Also an impossible rarity: living through a period of time that people in the future will call a “tipping point.” When the right energy hits and the right combination of voices come together at just the right moment, the rush of progress lifts a community forward. Fortunately for those of us living in Tahoe, right at this very moment both of these realities are coming true.

Troy Matthews works for Tahoe Youth & Family Services, David Orr is the co-founder of Tahoe Mountain Lab, and Evon Yakar is the Rabbi at Temple Bat Yam. They are all residents of South Lake Tahoe, graduates of the Leadership Lake Tahoe program, and members of the Progress for Tahoe Steering Committee.

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