“Incomes have actually fallen in Blaine County. The jobs we have added are lower paying jobs, so wages are going down and house prices are going up.”
SUN VALLEY, Idaho – As billionaires and business executives take to the Wood River Valley for the 38th Annual Allen & Co. Retreat in Sun Valley, residents of Blaine County struggle to find affordable housing and are faced with the to lower wages.
To what we call “summer camp for billionaires”, tycoons around the world work and meet in private and close some of the biggest deals in the US economy. However, for the people of the Wood River Valley, living where some of America’s richest people want to settle means being unable to find one.
The lack of affordable housing, unable to meet the demand for local labor, is driving many people away.
COVID-19 has exacerbated the gap between local workers and others who have left big cities and could stretch their dollar further in rural areas.
“Incomes have actually fallen in Blaine County. The jobs we have created are lower paying jobs, so wages are falling and house prices are skyrocketing,” said Michelle Griffith, executive director of ARCH Community Housing Trust, KTVB said.
ARCH Community Housing Trust helps community members and families who are struggling to find housing. The group said Blaine County’s growth began after the recession.
“Our local workforce is billed outside the market,” Griffith said.
Previously, the group received a few phone calls per month, but now receives several calls each day. The pool of people who need help is only growing.
“Teachers, nurses and first responders all find that if they don’t own their home, they depend on an owner who can decide to sell the property they lived and rented out,” she said. declared.
Giffith said there was a time when local leaders and politicians had to be convinced that affordable housing would help the local workforce, but that is no longer the case.
“Elected officials and judicial leaders, in my opinion, are doing all they can to tackle this problem,” she said.
Griffith added that it is important for the affordable housing talks to move forward in Blaine County as it could help prevent the next housing crisis.
The group recognized that there is a faster solution to the housing crisis: money. Griffith said they are proud of the community they live in and that she supports so many social causes and nonprofits, but she hopes to see some of that generosity go to local housing.
“The work that the heads of the courts are starting to do will go much faster and much more efficiently,” she said.
Construction is underway for the Blaine Manor Senior and Family Community, a 60 unit development located in Hailey. Most housing will be reserved for residents earning 30 to 60% of the median income in the area.
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