Employers, thank you for taking the time to complete this important survey. Your feedback will help identify needs and help target solutions to improve the availability and affordability of workforce housing in Sandpoint.
The City of Sandpoint recognizes the growing crisis in housing availability and affordability. This problem impacts the local economy and community health when workers are unable to secure affordable housing. Employers are unable to fill critical positions when employees can’t find housing. Career staff are compelled to move to other communities when the price and availability of homeownership becomes out of reach. When they leave, the employer loses the value of their investment and the institutional knowledge and experience of those career employees.
The community impact of workers forced to relocate is compounded by the corresponding loss of workforce capacity provided by family members who also work in the community. A spouse may work as a school teacher or nurse and older children may hold positions in the retail and food industry that are difficult to fill. The whole family, who was previously invested in the community, is no longer contributing to civic, cultural, and philanthropic activities that make Sandpoint what it is.
There are solutions to this problem as demonstrated by other similar communities, but they require collaboration, effort and resources. Many communities have created partnerships that have successfully addressed housing shortages by collaborating on development projects where costs have been significantly reduced. Home ownership and rental projects have been built through public private partnerships that are only eligible to local residents and to residents that meet other conditions of eligibility like workforce participation and income thresholds. There are many different models that have worked in other communities and any number of options could be successful here as well.
Given the dramatic shift in the local housing market and its inevitable impact on Sandpoint’s economic wellbeing, it is critical that we begin to take steps to address this problem now and ensure that local employers are able to attract and retain a quality workforce well into the future.
As a starting point, I invite your organization complete the Sandpoint Workforce Housing Needs Assessment as accurately as possible. Your responses will help determine the current and anticipated needs for workforce housing in Sandpoint and will assist the Task Force in designing solutions tailored to meet those needs. Thank you for your valuable time and insight on this project!
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