It’s incredibly difficult for hard working people to find a decent affordable place to live in Jackson Hole. When people can’t afford to live here, they face a daunting choice. Commute long and dangerous distances, consuming significant amounts of fossil fuel, increasing traffic and wildlife-vehicle collisions, reducing family time, and undermining our community character. Or deal with unsafe and cramped housing conditions, camping, living in their cars, or housing costs that eat up most of their income.
This unacceptable situation exists primarily because our community has chosen not to invest in building housing that our workforce can afford and our land use rules present unnecessary obstacles to building the types of housing hard working people need, while encouraging the construction of tourist lodging and houses attractive to second homeowners.
Jackson Hole will stay a strong community
where at least two-thirds of our
diverse workforce can affordably
rent or purchase a safe and healthy home
that meets their family’s needs.
People who work in Jackson Hole should be able to live here.
We can work together as a community to create housing opportunities that align with our values of protecting wildlife and our community character and provide those who work here with the security of having a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home.
To stay a strong community, we should:
- Approve a dedicated funding source for the production, preservation, and management of housing for the diverse makeup of our workforce.
- Update our land development regulations to generate a supply of housing suitable and affordable to workers.
- Establish a housing trust fund to equitably allocate public funds, private donations, and in-lieu fees to housing organizations, employers, and the private sector to increase the production of affordable housing.
- Facilitate and incentivize private construction of workforce housing.
Housing Case Study
It’s no secret that affordable housing for Jackson Hole’s seasonal workforce has been a community-wide challenge dating back to the post-WWII economic booms of the 1950s and 60s. And still today, affordable housing is one of the single most important conservation issues we face as a community.
Scott Horn, a 21-year resident of Jackson Hole and Chief Administrative Officer at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has spent a decade leading the Resort’s efforts to build affordable housing in our community. “Providing affordable housing for seasonal employees is a logistical challenge for companies that significantly increase their staffing levels, especially in the summer months.
We’ve rented blocks of housing owned by other people in the past, but it just wasn’t enough to meet the demand,” Horn said.
In 2003, under the leadership of Jerry Blann, President of the Mountain Resort, the company purchased 2.32-acres of real estate just behind Kmart in West Jackson. At the same time, the company began investigating what similar resort communities were doing, namely Aspen and Vail, to address their seasonal employee housing issues. The Resort also began working with the Town and County planning departments to solicit feedback and support for its vision to build a high-density apartment complex to house their seasonal employees.
In 2014, in partnership with the Four Seasons and Teton Village Lodging, the Mountain Resort broke ground on Phase 1 of the Powderhorn Housing Development, a three-building complex of three-story buildings that will house 94 seasonal employees. Each fully furnished apartment unit features communal living and dining areas, a kitchen, and two full bathrooms. Individual tenants will have his or her private 110-square foot bedroom and closet, which can be locked off from the rest of the apartment. All tenants have to bring when they move in is their own bedding and towels. Storage for bikes and skis are available on each floor, as are laundry facilities. Two units are wheelchair accessible. Rent is just under $600 a month.
The Powderhorn Housing Development is the perfect location for its seasonal employees, especially those who are car-free. It’s within close walking distance to grocery stores, a movie theater, restaurants, retail shops, bike paths, the post office, and most importantly for Mountain Resort employees, the Teton Village bus line.
Ground breaking for Phase 2 is yet to be announced; nonetheless the Resort’s plans include the construction of two larger buildings that will ultimately house an additional 90 seasonal employees. Although the Powderhorn Housing Development is a step in the right direction, Jackson Hole as a community still has a long way to go in terms of closing our seasonal housing gap.