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Local Association Advocates for Affordable Housing

TitleLocal Association Advocates for Affordable Housing
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2005-01-11
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #148 - "Local Association Advocates for Affordable Housing" (Air Date: Dec. 19, 2005).
SubjectHousing -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif and Nev)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2006-02-15
RelationWindows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 148 -The Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe (WHATT) was formed by a group of local business people concerned about the scarcity of affordable housing options for employees in our region. Forums held in 2001 by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and the Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce provided the impetus for forming the association. The mission of the association is to work with employers, employees, and the community to advocate for the implementation of affordable workforce housing in the Truckee/North Tahoe Region. Generally, housing is considered affordable when a household pays less than 30 percent of its monthly income for housing, including utilities. In 2004, a Truckee household of four persons earning less than $31, 800 per year was considered "very low income." Households earning between $31, 800 and $50, 900 per year were considered "low income, " and households earning between $50, 900 and $76, 300 per year were considered "moderate income." According to the WHATT Web site" target="_top">, in 2000, 3, 670 Truckee-North Lake Tahoe households paid more that 30 percent of their income for housing. Experienced workers in all income segments are leaving to find better housing situations. This hurts local businesses that have a smaller workforce from which to recruit employees, and it hurts the community. Rachelle Pellissier, WHATT Executive Director, says, "In order to sustain a balanced, year-round economy, a region needs people of all age and income levels to live and work there." The WHATT Web site explains the extent of the problem with recent real estate statistics. It reports, "In the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors' region, in April 2005, there were 298 houses and condos for sale. Of these, 9.4 percent (27 properties) were priced less than $500, 000. The average listing price was $1, 199, 000." According to the association's analysis, the affordable purchase price of a home for a moderate-income family that makes 120 percent of median income ($76, 000), with a 5 percent down payment is $314, 000. Comparing that purchase power to the market prices of housing in the region shows the vast extent of the affordability gap. The Workforce Housing Association is working with Nevada and Placer Counties and the Town of Truckee to create development requirements that will provide more affordable housing in the region. The "Housing Element" of the 2005 Truckee General Plan Update has established lofty goals for affordable housing. In new residential developments, a certain percentage of the units will be required to be affordable to very low-, low-, and moderate- income households. Already, there are signs of improvement for workforce housing. In the summer of 2005, the Town of Truckee Planning Commission approved two developments containing 122 affordable housing units. At their July 27 meeting, the Planning Commission approved Spring Creek, a 66-unit neighborhood consisting of 30 units of "for-sale" housing affordable to moderate-income families (120 percent of median income) and 36 market rate units. At their Aug. 2 meeting, the Planning Commission approved the Gray's Crossing Apartments, a 92-unit rental complex affordable to very low-income (50 percent of median income) and low-income (60 percent of median income) families. Pellissier applauds the Town of Truckee for their efforts to address the affordable workforce housing shortage by fast tracking these important developments. Learn more about the Town of Truckee Housing Element at WHATT recently received a $245, 000, two-year grant from the S. H. Cowell Foundation that will help the organization to expand beyond its advocate role, and help it to become a more aggressive housing agency. New roles for the organization may include development partner, community outreach coordinator, and long-term steward of the region's scarce affordable housing resources.

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