Mountain Housing Council
Emergency Proclamation Regarding Housing
The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee is declaring a housing emergency because the current housing crisis is threatening the livelihood and character of the region, its community members, and its businesses. Declaring an emergency will enable the region to better address the immediate shortage of available workforce and community housing.
The exponential rise of remote workers in the region during the pandemic (dubbed the “Zoom Boom”) has nearly eliminated the already slim supply of housing options for the local workforce and community members. This exacerbated shortage in available affordable and achievable housing is driving the labor shortages and threatening the livelihood and character of the region and its community members and businesses.
The Mountain Housing Council (MHC) was created in 2017, during a time that we perceived as a community crisis. However, over the course of the last 18 months, our region has seen an exponential increase in housing prices and a catastrophic loss of existing housing stock for our local workforce and community members. This is resulting in a significant strain on our economic vitality as a community, and can ultimately play a role in the degradation of our beautiful environment and thriving community.
As of July 2021, the following statistics applied to our region:
- Median home prices are soaring. According to the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors, the median price in North Shore was $1,125,000 (a 129% increase from before the pandemic), and in Truckee, $1,082,500 (a 44% increase from before the pandemic)
- More than 90% of the housing stock is currently zoned as single-family residences and more than 65% of those homes are used as second homes and short-term rentals
- The 2021 housing needs assessment indicated that the unmet need for the region is for more than 9,500 housing units, reflecting a more than 12 percent increase (or more than 1,000 units) since the prior 2016 analysis, mostly impacting our resident workforce
- Demand is most acute for households earning between 30%-60% and 80 – 120% of the area’s median income (AMI)
- Landlords are now selling homes that many locals were renting, and many open job positions cannot be filled because people cannot find a place to live
As a result, our local workforce and community members have been left with very few rental and purchase options. This has resulted in hundreds of employment openings listed, which equates to a significant percentage of our region’s workforce being unfilled.
While the Town is about to release between 200 and 250 additional Affordable units in Truckee, and Placer County recently released a Workforce Housing Preservation Program, there will continue to be a significant housing shortage between now and the time those units are occupied. The housing crisis is already creating notable impacts in the community, from businesses closing for multiple days per week, to members of the community leaving the town and area entirely. As a result, the partner representatives of the MHC are proclaiming a Housing Emergency to draw attention to this situation to our visitors, second homeowners, State and Federal Elected Officials, and community members.
A Partnership in Action
Over the course of the last 4 years, the Partnership of the MHC has worked together to educate ourselves, generate ideas, advance solutions, and align resources. Our track record has resulted in real policy change, new funds directed towards housing, and hundreds of units being built and rented. With the statewide housing crisis being so complex and under-resourced, we are doing everything we can to bring local focus, leadership and resources to the table. Still, we recognize that it is not fast enough for many of our neighbors, colleagues, friends and community members, and we are committed to coming up with solutions to the problem.
With this latest shift – resulting from the global pandemic and the massive loss in available housing – we communicate and signal our community and everyone else that the crisis has gotten worse. It is truly an emergency. In response to this emergency situation, MHC’s partners have begun to take immediate actions to alleviate the current housing crisis, especially during the height of the summer season. Specifically, partners are actively exploring the following actions (as well as many others):
- Rental incentives for our local community members. The Town of Truckee has expanded its Workforce Rental Grant Program, and Placer County has spoken with the Town and Landing Locals about expanding the program to East Placer.
- Safe Parking Programs for workers living in cars, vans and RV’s. The MHC’s Homelessness & Supportive Housing Working Group is currently researching the merits of a pallet shelter program.
- Remove limits on camping & RV occupancy on private property inside jurisdictions. Placer and Nevada County are currently reexamining these ordinances.
- Allow tiny homes to remain on wheels & within jurisdiction limits. Placer, Nevada, and Truckee allow tiny houses on wheels in RV and mobile home parks, as well as on private properties for a specific amount of time. In addition, in order to diversify the types and affordability of housing, the Placer County Planning Department just proposed to amend the Zoning Ordinance to add tiny houses on wheels as another housing option on October 7, 2021, and the Placer County Board of Supervisors will consider these recommendations in the beginning of 2022.
- Look into Moratoriums and/or caps on short-term rentals. Placer County and the Town of Truckee have placed a temporary moratorium on new short-term rental permits.
- Mobile home conversion ordinances (to protect residents there if park changes hands) – preserve existing affordable units. Nevada County is pursuing a “rent space stabilization” ordinance for County parks, which will be brought to the board in January 2022, and include official work done by a market research firm. In most cases, a temporary ordinance is put in place, followed by a permanent solution. In order to implement any measures outside of County parks, the CA Dept of Housing & Community Development has to get involved, as that is their jurisdiction
- Prioritize deed restricted housing projects. Placer County has put in place Workforce Housing Preservation Program: https://www.placer.ca.gov/
7130/Workforce-Housing- Preservation-Program, and Truckee is moving forward with its Below Market Rate (i.e. Deed Restricted) Housing Program: https://www.townoftruckee.com/ government/housing/below- market-rate-housing-program.
- Accelerate ADU applications with third party reviewers. Truckee funds third-party reviews of ADUs; Nevada County retains third-party contractor to assist with ADU review.
- Vacancy/tax incentive programs
- Temporary rent control caps. A law called the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act preempts local rent control ordinances in several ways: Localities cannot regulate rents in single-family homes, condos, or apartments built after 1995. On the other hand, AB 1482 from last year did enact some statewide tenant protections (i.e. limiting rent increase to no more than 5% per year).
- Co-investment strategies of local employers to purchase housing for employees
Adoption: Proclamation of Mountain Housing Council
The partner representatives of the Mountain Housing Council, a program of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, hereby and collectively proclaim that the summer of 2021 is recognized as one of the most difficult seasons our community has ever experienced as it relates to the housing situation for our local workforce, employers, and community members. With this proclamation, our partnership is committed to supporting short-term and immediate action, while still focused on the long-term solution. In addition, with this proclamation, we ask our community members – along with regional, State, and Federal Partners – to support and advocate for our efforts and accelerated solutions.
Share this Emergency Proclamation
Read the new Achievable Housing Definition and Send Feedback
The Mountain Housing Council (MHC) meets quarterly. Meetings are designed for Partners, but the public is welcome to attend. The next meeting will be October 22, 2021 from 8-11 am. Registration Required.
We hope to see you at our next meeting!