ShelterJH builds political power so we can afford to make Jackson Hole our home.
We all worked hard and made sacrifices to come to Jackson with a dream of a better life, we fell in love with this place and community, and we want to be able to stay and make this our home. And we rely on each other to make our own lives and the whole community work, so we’re committed to making it possible for all of us to stay.
Our housing crisis is getting worse every summer. We’re being forced out by rent increases, or when our apartments are demolished to make room for new corporate hotels and luxury condos. We’re losing homes every year. So every year we lose more of our teachers, nurses, cooks, dishwashers, and police as they commute or move to other communities where they can afford to rent or own homes. When people commute, they lose access to our great schools, parks, and even being able to vote here. Our local businesses suffer because they can’t keep staff. And we lose the soul of our community and risk becoming just another resort.
Usually when anyone proposes building new homes we can afford, someone else tries to stop it by suing or by putting pressure on our elected representatives. Sadly, nobody stands up for these homes, so they get shot down. At the same time, we keep building big new corporate hotels and second homes that sit empty most of the year – and make things worse.
But this isn’t the whole story. Our community is building great new homes and apartments, like the Powderhorn employee housing, and the affordable rentals and townhomes at the Grove. We created rules to require new condo and commercial developments include affordable homes. And 100 of us marched from Town Square to Town Hall last summer, creating political power for tenant protections. With more political power, we can do more.
ShelterJH is a membership organization – more like a union than a typical nonprofit.
All our money comes from us – not from wealthy donors – which means that we’re completely independent and free to work for our best interests. It really sends a strong message when people pay dues with their hard-earned money. Members will elect our board and give input on big decisions at our annual member meeting, and are invited to serve in volunteer leadership roles too.
And we’re filing as a 501(c)4 nonprofit so that we can get political!
As a 501(c)4 instead of the typical 501(c)3, we can endorse, oppose, and support candidates, so we can help keep great housing champions in office. Imagine if we had 100 or 1000 members, and town council was considering an affordable housing project that wealthy neighbors didn’t want. We could say “1000 of us will vote for you to keep you in office – don’t worry about those loud nay-saying few.” That’s a game-changer.
When enough of us get together, we will have the power to make change. Join us!
Mary Erickson (Chair)
Christine Walker (Policy Team Chair)
Skye Schell (Secretary)
Nick Grenoble (Treasurer)
Youth liaison to the board: Ventura Garcia