Colorado town turns hotel into homes for seasonal workers


(NewsNation) —  Finding affordable housing can be challenging in many places throughout the country. In Colorado, the problem’s been particularly acute in resort towns in the mountains, such as the town of Crested Butte.

“Our families know their kids won’t be able to afford to live here,” Troy Russ, Crested Butte’s community development director, said. “Our average price is now $1.5 million per home. And it is out of reach for not only our lower-income workforce, but our middle and upper-income workforces can’t afford to live in Crested Butte.”

Town officials are trying one solution— turning a hotel into a home.

They passed an emergency declaration allowing the town to bypass some bureaucracy and buy a bed and breakfast to accommodate some seasonal workforce, like those who work in restaurants or operate ski lifts in winter.

“We didn’t have dormitory-style homes for our seasonal workforce. So we wanted to add an arrow to our quiver,” Russ explained. ” You need to look at all the housing stock and what it offers you.”

This emergency declaration shortened the time it takes to transition the hotel to residents by about four months.

“Each room has their own bathroom, but they share the kitchens,” Russ explained. “It’s one of many tools that we’re using.”

These other tools include buying deed restrictions off existing homes, Russ said. The town’s also currently building 70 units of affordable housing units.

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