Please RSVP using the form below
Location: Marble Distilling
Address: 150 Main St, Carbondale, CO 81623
Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Time: 5:30 to 7pm
RSVP to a housing-oriented panel discussion
Capacity is limited for the free event hosted at Marble Distilling in Carbondale, CO. Drinks and light snacks will be available to purchase. Please RSVP in the below form by Nov. 30.
Is the dream still livable: Maintaining community in the Roaring Fork Valley in the midst of a housing crisis
Aspen Journalism hosts panel discussion on housing
Nov. 29, 2023
Aspen Journalism, a nonprofit, investigative news organization serving the Roaring Fork Valley, invites the public to join us for a panel discussion on the local affordable housing availability crisis, and what is being done about it, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., in the bar at the Marble Distilling Co. at 150 Main St. in Carbondale.
The discussion, moderated by Aspen Journalism Editor and Executive Director Curtis Wackerle, will feature panelists Hannah Klausman, the director of economic and community development for the city of Glenwood Springs, and April Long, program director for the West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition.
Klausman is also a board member representing Glenwood Springs on the West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition, (website: http://wrmhousing.org), which was established as a nonprofit corporation in 2022 with a mission to increase the availability and accessibility of affordable community housing in Pitkin, Eagle, and Garfield counties.
The coalition’s roots go back past 2018 when founding members undertook a valley-wide study of affordable housing needs. Members now include the cities of Glenwood Springs and Aspen, the towns of Carbondale, Basalt and Snowmass Village, Eagle and Pitkin Counties, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and Colorado Mountain College. Member representatives meet at least monthly and the coalition is expecting to launch a buy-down program in 2024 with around $3 million in funding commitments.
Long and Klausman point to studies the coalition has commissioned which illustrate that already acute affordable housing needs in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys before the COVID-19 pandemic have only grown more extreme.
The demographic of who owns a home here has shifted in the last five years, according to the group’s recent research, with an influx of buyers migrating to the region during the pandemic who were comparatively wealthier than those already making a living in the three counties that make up the two valleys.
“The feeling is, if you work in this valley, you can no longer afford a home, that the housing market has left you behind,” Long said. Meanwhile, those making less than area median income have left in large numbers, “because we do not have a housing supply for them,” leading to a labor crunch being felt valley wide.
The depth of the problem has mobilized local officials like never before, with each jurisdiction represented on the coalition pursuing policies to increase affordable housing. The coalition sees part of its mission as elevating the lack of affordable housing to a collective problem requiring solutions that cross jurisdictional boundaries.
Long served as the stormwater manager and clean river program director for the city of Aspen from 2008 until she took on her new role with West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition in September. She continues to serve as the executive director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority, a role she has maintained since 2018.
Klausman, who came to the region in 2013 as a planner for the city of Rifle, has been with the city of Glenwood Springs since 2016. She has focused on affordable housing development and policy throughout her career.
Curtis Wackerle joined Aspen Journalism as editor in 2020 and has been editor and executive director since 2021. That followed 14 years at Aspen Daily News, serving as editor from 2016 through 2020.
There is no cost to attend the event, though we ask guests to register in advance at Aspen Journalism’s webpage or using the QR code below. Light snacks will be provided with a cash bar. Thank you to the locally owned, sustainability-focused Marble Distilling Co. for hosting this event. Please keep in mind that parking is limited around the distillery and carpooling or using alternate transportation is encouraged.
For more information, contact Curtis Wackerle, editor and executive director of Aspen Journalism, at email@example.com or (303) 877-7729.