Posted: Mar 1, 2013 11:03 AM by Judy Slate
Updated: Mar 1, 2013 11:20 AM
BIG SKY - Big Sky is known as resort town. But more than 2,000 people call it home year-round, but many of those people have a hard time finding an affordable place to live.
"The only time I've had cheap rent is when I've been crammed into a place," explained renter Mark Davidson.
Davidson works at Lone Peak Cinema in Big Sky. He has lived in Big Sky for almost five years and recently had to find a new place to live.
"It seemed like there was just less long-term units around, lots of vacation homes on Craigslist. No long-term rentals at all," he said.
Big Sky Resort offers its seasonal employees housing, including at the Gold Eagle.
Davidson ended up finding a place out of town. He's not alone.
Celeste Alley works at the Hungry Moose in Big Sky. She commutes from Bozeman.
"(I'm) up at 5, catch a bus at 7, back to Bozeman until 7. Four hours of commuting," she explained.
Affordable housing isn't just about convenience for the people who work here, it's also about keeping payroll dollars in town.
"You pay someone to work in your town, you'd like for them to live in your town and reinvest in your town in the goods and services that are here," said Kitty Clemens of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce held a workshop this week that included developers, resort representatives, government officials and others, trying to solve the affordable housing shortage.
So far, they only have ideas. In the meantime, the kind of people a growing town wants to attract may choose somewhere other than Big Sky to call home.
"When we're driving those people away, just simply because there's nowhere to live, who know what we're missing out on," Davidson said.
The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce is applying for resort tax assistance to pay for a consultant to help start an economic development board or a housing authority.