STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO. — For the first two weeks of May 2023, the Young Professional Network as part of the Steamboat Springs Chamber conducted a housing survey to its members in partnership with the Brown Ranch Annexation Committee (BRAC). 254 individuals in the network responded to the survey questions and 104 provided additional comments. This survey follows the advice of the Urban Land Institute to pursue outreach to 20-40 year olds.
The key themes gleaned from the survey include the workforce leaving the community because of lack of housing; majority of respondents pay more than 30% of their income on housing; housing is unstable and there is a lack of supply of housing, even for high wage earners. The survey was presented at the BRAC meeting on May 24th. The full report can be seen here.
“The Young Professionals Network was thrilled to work on this survey. We can’t have the next generation of leaders thrive in the Yampa Valley without affordable and attainable housing. This survey provided an opportunity for young professionals to make their voices heard on the current housing situation and what they hope to see in the future,” said Angelica Salinas, Young Professionals Network Board President.
One of the most revealing responses was 67.1% (169 respondents) said they were worried they will have to leave the community. The comments section reinforced the theme of the workforce leaving the community. The qualitative analysis gleaned the following:
- Teachers can’t find a place to live or a place they can afford. Potential teachers can’t move here and existing teachers can’t stay.
- 20–40-year-olds desperately need affordable housing.
- People have and are moving to Craig and commuting to Steamboat.
- Some common comments
- “I have friends who are leaving because they can’t find housing.”
- “I may have to leave because I can’t find housing.”
- “We must leave to start a family.”
- “I am housing secure and fully support workforce housing.”
On affordability, the survey illustrated that 63.4% (161 respondents) pay more than 30% of their income on housing, which is the federal recommended rate. With the high rate of housing costs in Routt County, the comments also showed concerns that the Brown Ranch will not be affordable. The qualitative analysis showed some themes:
- “Will the Brown Ranch truly be “affordable” as we have heard of many neighborhoods/developments that are supposed to be but aren’t.”
- “Worried it won’t be affordable to my/our situation.”
- “Affordability is crucial to the success of Brown Ranch.”
Members of the BRAC stressed the need for more public education on the different levels of income eligible for both rental and for sale housing at the Brown Ranch. “In the affordable housing world we talk about AMI, Average Median Income and the percentages available. The Brown Ranch will have housing in the 30%-200% AMI range which means diverse housing options for workers like teachers, nurses, restaurant workers, police, and non-profit staff,” said Jason Peasley, Executive Director, Yampa Valley Housing Authority, member of the BRAC.
In the comments section, there was a consistent theme about unstable housing including: .
- Leases not being renewed due to the sale of the home or the owner/family member moving back.
- Rent increasing dramatically upon lease renewal and tenant can no longer afford.
- Residents staying in toxic or stressful living situations as there are no other options.
In the quantitative part of the survey the question was asked, “Do you currently have stable housing?” Only 54.3% (138 responses) said yes, 20.1% (51 responses) said maybe and 25.6% said no (65 responses).
There was another theme of the lack of supply of affordable housing.
- High wage earners can’t find something to buy or are constantly outbid when making offers to purchase a home.
- Desperately need for purchase options.
In the survey, 74.3% said they were interested in buying affordable housing and 29.6% said they hope to live at the Brown Ranch, 40.7% of the respondents said maybe to live at the Brown Ranch.
Contact: Angelica Salinas, email@example.com