ShelterJH Community Housing Platform
ShelterJH, the only independent housing advocacy organization in Teton County, builds grassroots and political support so that all of our community members have a choice to live where they work.
Our housing market is not serving the vast majority of the people who make this community function, particularly our essential workers including teachers, nurses, firefighters, cooks, dishwashers, housekeepers, fishing guides, and small business owners. For decades we have been working to address this housing challenge, and yet the housing crisis continues to worsen, impacting the health and resiliency of our community.
- Northern South Park
We’re excited about the opportunity to provide homes for local workers in Northern South Park (NSP) and address our housing crisis. We believe it’s the right place and the right time. As a “yes in my backyard” organization, we have learned over the years that unless there are deed restrictions tied to specific incomes and with appreciation caps to ensure permanent affordability, only the most advantaged people working here can gain access to these places to live. To protect this enormous community investment in NSP, the affordability should be required through foolproof and permanent deed restrictions, recorded on the lots at the time of the zone change. We support this “inclusionary” approach in all up zones, not just regarding NSP.
- Prioritize creating homes for locals that are permanently affordable
Over the last decade, our community has eliminated tools that incentivized and mandated the inclusion of homes for locals that are permanently affordable, such as the Affordable Housing Planned Unit Development (AH-PUD) and Inclusionary Zoning (requiring most units created by an up-zone to be permanently affordable to local workers). In addition, our zoning codes contain barriers to building anything other than single-family homes, the most expensive product type of the spectrum of housing choices available to our community. We support bringing back Inclusionary Zoning for all annexations and up-zones and/or the AH-PUD overlay. This creates transparency on community benefit expectations for any up-zones and annexations, without the emotion generated from a specific development proposal.We also support amending the Land Development Regulations to diversify housing options in town, Wilson, the Aspens, and the other “complete neighborhoods” outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. These house-scale buildings (duplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts, and multiplexes) fit seamlessly into existing residential neighborhoods and support walkability, locally-serving retail, and public transportation options. They provide “missing middle” options that are less expensive to construct and maintain, address the mismatch between the available housing stock and household sizes, and meet the growing demand for walkability.
- Partnership Framework/Teton Housing Council
It takes a community to build a community. We need to set up an environment for collaboration, empowering all segments of our community to participate effectively to accelerate housing solutions. We support a novel approach that brings together all key stakeholders (housing groups, social service organizations, businesses, large landowners, realtors, conservationists, developers, etc.) in a partnership framework that is fully staffed and facilitated to solve our housing challenge together. This approach has worked in the Tahoe region.
- Dedicated Public Funding
It is not possible to construct a modest dwelling unit that a median income earning family can afford to purchase or rent in Teton County without substantial investment. There is no profit – in fact there is a short-fall or subsidy needed to build places to live for people earning less than about 200% of median income, and that investment increases as household incomes decrease. The investment can come from local public funds, state/federal public funds (less than 80% AMI), philanthropy, density bonuses, and to a lesser extent regulatory relief. Also, in recent budgeting processes even modest amounts requested by the Housing Department and the community were not funded. We support a permanent and dedicated local and/or state source(s) of revenue to create and preserve homes that local workers can afford to rent or purchase, consistent with the objectives of the Comprehensive Plan. We have the opportunity to build on our community’s support in 2022 for housing SPET measures. We also support new state revenue streams such as a real estate tax and see an opportunity for progress in Cheyenne over the next two years with a common desire to diversify state funding options. To protect this community investment, we insist on permanent deed-restrictions, regardless of whether the investment is in the form of direct funding, density bonuses or regulatory relief.
- Allocation of Public Funds
Any public funds collected should be held in a dedicated fund and distributed equitably based on a simple, transparent, regular, and timely allocation system, allowing access to any organization interested in addressing our housing needs. We support establishing a Community Housing Fund with an independent, appointed board, similar to the Lodging Tax Board, that is responsible for allocating funds. There are more than 800 Housing Trust Funds in the U.S created by governmental entities to support the construction, acquisition, and preservation of affordable housing and related services to meet housing needs.