A coalition of residents, businesses and civic leaders this week launched Prosper Longmont, an effort to tackle the complex issue of attainable housing in the city.
“We have a workforce crisis happening in Longmont,” said Eric Wallace, founder and president of Left Hand Brewing and founding member of Prosper Longmont, in a news release. “Prosper Longmont was founded because we believe the current policies and decisions impacting affordable and workforce housing are exacerbating the housing crisis in our community and not improving it.”
“We are taking action because the time is now,” Wallace said. “The choice is not to grow or grow not, it is to decide how to wisely manage growth that is happening. And the answer is attainable housing.”
Median home prices are now beyond what a growing share of local workers can afford and continue to appreciate at an unprecedented rate, the news release states. Current policies that restrict housing supply have created an environment in which home prices continue to outpace income levels.
The group also says a 2021 Workforce Perceptions Study “housing affordability,” “access to housing,” and “cost of living” were ranked as very to extremely important to respondents and Longmont had significant shortcomings in these areas, the new release states.
Prosper Longmont has four objectives, according to the news release:
- “Do No Harm”: Prosper Longmont will work with Longmont’s elected leaders to advocate for an approach to policy-making that does not have a negative impact on housing affordability, equitable access to home ownership opportunities or the feasibility of creating attainable housing.
- Set Goals and Measure Progress: The Prosper Longmont coalition will set goals, measure progress and hold the group and city leaders accountable by taking a data-informed approach to defining affordability, to objectively measuring the attainable housing gap and to setting a target for the future creation of attainable housing that ensures people who work in Longmont can afford to live in Longmont.
- Align Policy and Process with Vision: Prosper Longmont will work in partnership withelected leaders and city staff to identify and address barriers that exist in current code, zoning and development review process that prevent the achievement of attainable housing goals established in Envision Longmont and Advance Longmont 2.0
- Innovate and Create: Prosper Longmont coalition members will take a proactive approach to identifying and implementing creative, inclusive and collaborative solutions to the creation and financing of housing that is equitably attainable for all individuals regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
Attainable housing also affects local businesses in many positive ways, including boosting recruitment and reducing employee turnover, the new release states.
Wallace recently told the Longmont City Council that “If our young people can’t afford to buy homes in Longmont and begin to build equity, the nature of our community will be heavily impacted over time,” the news release states. “We can’t say we are inclusive while acting to be exclusive.”