It seems Winter Park, CO is making serious attempts to address the problem that virtually all ski towns are facing: workforce housing. According to Sky-Hi News, the town council has approved a budget of $325,000 to pay owners of short-term rental properties to lease their properties long-term. The council has dubbed this the Short-Term Fix problem, and it will pair small businesses with short-term rental owners and second homeowners. The goal is to be able to provide housing for 40 workers. Council members hope for it to begin as soon as September 15th.
To be eligible for this program, a business must have less than 50 employees. It is up to the business and the property owner to negotiate a lease for six months or one year. The town of Winter Park would then be responsible for paying the owner of the property for participating in the program.
Winter Park will pay owners varying amounts based on the type of property. Sky-Hi News reports that owners of a studio or one-bedroom apartment will be paid $5,000 for a six-month lease or $10,000 for a year-long lease. Two or three-bedroom apartment owners or homeowners would receive $10,000 for a six-month lease or $20,000 for a year-long lease.
Town Manager Keith Riesberg reports having a strong interest in the program from business and property owners. The program targets properties in the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District, and the rentals will have to meet specific requirements as defined by the town’s accessory dwelling units.
The town council does recognize that this is a temporary solution to a long-term problem. The council hopes that property owners will continue to lease long-term without the incentive once they see it as a viable option. They did acknowledge in their council meeting on Tuesday that if the program is successful, they could allocate more funds into the budget to continue the incentive next year.
It’s great to see at least one ski town taking housing seriously, as many businesses struggle to hire employees.