CITY OF OURAY: Limited housing options affecting local employment
By Sheridan Block
It's obvious that housing options in Ouray are very limited, especially for the working class looking for affordable alternatives. Seasonal summer positions at local businesses are struggling to be filled as potential employees are unable to afford the limited housing options in town with the pay being offered.
City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli said that while affordable housing options have not been a priority for the administration, he has noticed the problems that have resulted from Ouray's restricted availability.
"It affects everything," said Rondinelli, noting that limited options affect local businesses' opportunities to hire employees, which in the end affects the local economy.
In the most recent Regional Housing Needs Assessment for Ouray and San Miguel counties, conducted in 2010 and published in 2011, a majority of residents in both counties felt that the problem of finding affordable housing for the local workforce is one of the more serious problems the county faces (approximately 43 percent of those surveyed in Ouray and in Ridgway agreed). Additionally, 84 percent of employers in Ouray County believed that affordable employee housing is one of the more serious problems in the area or is a problem among others that need attention.
However, the study was conducted four years ago and conditions have most certainly changed, said Ouray County Housing Authority President Shirley Diaz.
Diaz mentioned that the startup of the Revenue silver mine in Ouray may have impacted long-term rentals to some degree, as newly hired miners are...