Housing is an issue almost every resort community in America faces. One of the hardest hit groups in that issue are employees. Many left searching for a place to live in areas where homes and apartments are being turned into vacation rentals. This past summer KTVB told you how it was impacting local businesses in McCall.
The Shore Lodge employs about 200 people year around. A number that rises to near 350 during the summer months.
Just up the road at Brundage Mountain, they’ll see their workforce skyrocket from 30 to more than 200 during the winter months.
Hundreds of new employees searching for somewhere to live in a resort town where nearly 75 percent of the homes are second homes.
“With the advent and expansion of short-term rentals through Airbnb, Vacasa, things like that, it's really put a crunch on our local housing stock,” Andrew Mentzer with the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council said.
The crisis has caused some employers to provide their own housing for their staff. The Shore Lodge has built condos, apartments, even a dormitory to help house more than a hundred of their employees.
“We actually right now have about a 135 beds of employee housing that are spread about 50 percent in pretty traditional dormitory, kind of bunk house housing. The other 50 percent in condominiums and apartments,” Dan Scott, the president of Shore Lodge, said.
All subsidized housing to help alleviate some of the financial stress on their employees.
“Dorm room is less than a couple hundred dollars a month, including utilities, including satellite TV, up to apartments; a 2-bedroom apartment is between $600 and $750 a month,” Scott said.
Brundage, with the peak season on the way, has also worked to secure housing for their seasonal employees.
“We pre-rented about 20 beds in the town of McCall. So that we could have those reserved for when our seasonal workers come in and need a place to live,” April Whitney with Brundage said.
The ski resort is also working on a long-term strategy and just recently bought a 40-acre parcel of land near New Meadows.
“That has been subdivided and permitted and we’re really going to be able to take a look at what the additional needs are and then construct some housing down there in the near future,” Whitney said.
This as many feel it’s an issue that’s not going away anytime soon.
“I think the larger employers are going to have to address it,” Scott said.
Mentzer says he and the development council are looking to do the same for those mom-and-pop shops in the small mountain towns.
“Regionally, there's been a lot of folks lately trying to get a collaborative or cluster model going where a variety of employers can come together, small employers, and they can create some housing assets or resources for their employees,” Mentzer said.