$167,000 Salary Offer Falls Flat Amid Housing Crisis in Colorado

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.05 - 2024 10:03 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a job offering a $167,000 salary remains unfilled due to the town's housing affordability crisis.

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Gary Suiter, the City Manager, shared with NBC News the difficulties the town faces in hiring for key positions. Specifically, the role of a human resources chief has been hard to fill, as two candidates declined the job after failing to find affordable housing.

The situation in Steamboat Springs, a picturesque ski town about three hours from Denver, is exacerbated by the influx of remote workers and the growth of the short-term rental market, pushing housing prices beyond reach for locals and newcomers alike.

The impact of this housing squeeze is widespread, affecting various sectors within the town. From city employees to medical professionals, many are finding it increasingly difficult to secure housing. The local hospital and a ski resort have had to find alternative accommodations for their staff, with the latter resorting to leasing a hotel for employee housing.

"Houses used to be for employees and hotels for guests. Now houses are for guests and hotels are for employee housing," remarked Loryn Duke, a communications director at the ski resort.

This phenomenon is not unique to Steamboat Springs but reflects a larger trend affecting ski towns across the American West.

The pandemic has intensified housing issues in established expensive areas like Vail and Aspen, and even previously affordable towns are now grappling with surging real estate prices. The rapid transformation has pushed long-time residents into "survival mode," with some choosing to leave their homes in search of affordability.

The housing crisis in Steamboat Springs has led to significant debates on how best to address the affordability issue, with the community divided on potential solutions.

As the town struggles to fill critical positions and maintain its workforce, the future of this and similar communities hangs in the balance, calling for urgent and effective measures to tackle the housing affordability crisis.

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