Housing Issues in North Tahoe Truckee
North Lake Tahoe continues to be one of the most sought-after destinations, and one of the most in crisis. Well before the pandemic, the lake was seeing more vacationers and permanent residents than ever before. During the pandemic, residents from nearby areas, such as the Bay Area, left shut down cities to be closer to the outdoors. Many new homes were purchased, and vacation homes converted to primary residences.
As a result, those making the lowest incomes are not only in dire need of housing, but those in the middle class or “missing middle” as well: According to the MHC’s latest needs assessment, Demand is most acute for households earning between 30-60% and 80 – 120% of the area’s median income (AMI). The lack of affordable housing for the “missing middle” means that, as pandemic restrictions ease and demand for vacation services increases, North Lake may not have the people or infrastructure to meet it.
Over the last decade, as Tahoe has gained popularity as both a vacation destination and, more recently, as a permanent destination, the income gap in California has been steadily rising. The housing crisis is arguably a symptom of widening inequality gaps, which were only exacerbated by the pandemic. Those able to work remotely were disproportionately wealthier and better situated to leave cities to find housing in idyllic areas like North Tahoe Truckee because they could afford it.
Over 2,000 new residents came to this area alone during the pandemic. According to Landing Locals, an organization the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation helped to start in order to help match local residents with long-term rentals, the cost of rent in Truckee climbed by 25-50 percent just in the first half of 2021. Affordable options are not only hard to find, but existing options are becoming so priced up and sought-after that homeowners are selling, forcing long-term renters out of their homes, many of whom have had to leave the area entirely. Nearly half of the people seen by Landing Locals are seeking housing because the homes they were renting have been sold or reoccupied.
This translates to serious impacts for local businesses, who experience worker shortages and turnover when workers cannot find a place to live, regardless of their income, as well as all residents and vacationers in the region, who often cannot obtain services or products due to labor shortages.
Mountain Housing Council partners are working around the clock on solutions: policies limiting short-term rentals, grant programs that provide up to $10,000 for homeowners to rent to local workforce, first time homebuyer assistance, and deed restricted housing programs in both Truckee and Placer County are just some of the programs partners have come up with to help chip away at the issue.