Welcoming Everyone Home
by Angela Earle
It's 7:30 am on a Tuesday morning in Bellevue. The northbound lane of highway 75 is clogged and inching forward, full of people who schlep to work each day from outside the Wood River Valley. They come in droves to service the WRV, yet can't afford to live here. How long will they be willing to do this? How many top rate teachers have we lost who just can't do it anymore? , and most importantly What are we willing to do about it?
In delving into these questions, we are talking about a lot more than shelter - we are talking about what kind of community we want to live in, and how we ourselves want to shape the future of the Valley. Two local groups have joined forces to educate and share with the public ideas around this very issue in the first Community Housing Week to be held from June 19-25. The Advocates for Real Community Housing (ARCH), a citizens advocacy group, and Blaine Ketchum Housing Authority (BKHA) are both keen on getting some options for people who work here to live here.
COMMUNITY HOUSING WEEK
From June 19-25, the housing process will be explored in depth from several standpoints. A noon lunchtime program will bring a lecture everyday at NextStage Theater in Ketchum on various topics such as "How Other Resort Communities Plan & Provide for Workforce Housing," (Tuesday, June 21, Becky Zimmerman). At 2pm everyday, also at NextStage, there will be a showcase of films and seminars, and an evening program from 5-8 pm which will offer tours of deed restricted housing options, and home buyers education classes.
On Saturday, June 25 th , there will be a Housing Resource Fair at McKercher Park in Hailey with information booths with local and national lenders, HUD, advocacy groups, and other related activities.
CREATING A WIN-WIN SITUATION
No doubt this issue is a very complex one - from every standpoint. The process of buying a home can be very stressful and confusing, especially for first time buyers. The added stress of English as a second language, and unfamiliarity with the process cause many to just give up and walk away.
For so long, in every area of our nation and world, we cry out for the best teachers and public and private servants. Now is the time that we must put our voices and our votes to use. We can not continue to demand - and not provide for - the best.
I love living here. The house I and my husband own has doubled in the last five years since we moved here. If we came here today there would be no way we could buy a house here - no way we could start a life here together. We wouldn't be here, and therefore, neither would Spirit of the Valley.
None of these organizations want to decrease the value of your home or property, raise or use your taxes. What they do want to do is work with the existing market conditions, educate people, and create a community which is self-sustaining, nurturing, and home for everyone.
For more information contact ARCH at 208-726-4411 or BKHA at 208-788-6102.