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Ketchum city leaders, residents discuss the area's housing crisis

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Posted at 6:17 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 20:19:01-04

KETCHUM, Idaho — Ketchum city officials and Blaine County Residents gathered on Friday to find immediate solutions to the ongoing housing crisis in the area.

The mayor and council took comments from several Ketchum residents who had opinions, ideas, and stories related to the struggle many Blaine County residents are facing with affordable housing.

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There were moments of frustration from some community members, but the workshop did bring more attention to the housing crisis and the unseen homeless population.

“You have left us in the cold until we have come knocking at your doorstep for answers,” said Ketchum resident Reid Stillman during the workshop.

Related: Displaced Ketchum residents demand action for community housing

Friday’s meeting followed a rally held by Blaine County residents last weekend where they demanded immediate solutions for affordable and workforce housing in the area.

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The housing shortage in Blaine County is not anything new — it's been going on for years and has been made worse by the pandemic. Some of the biggest contributing factors include wealthier out-of-state individuals buying up property at top dollar, or landlords making drastic rent increases.

Many individuals who do own property have chosen to use them as vacation rentals such as Airbnb instead of long-term rentals for community members.

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“There are people that are living out of their tents,” said Ketchum resident Krzysztof Gilarowski. “If we can provide faculties where they can shower, where they can go to the bathroom, I really like that idea because the problem would not be hidden.”

Several short-term solutions were discussed, including allowing for temporary tented housing on city-owned lands or allow RV housing to be allowed in public parking lots.

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“It was great to hear all the different viewpoints and I think it gives the council confidence to move forward with one or two of these initiatives that were mentioned today,” said Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw. “Hopefully even more than that.”

The next regular Ketchum city council meeting is scheduled for June 6.