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A Call to Action: Blog Post by Eric Wallace

Storefronts that line the main street in Longmont, Colorado.

I am writing this post on behalf of my family — including my three children — and my business, Left Hand Brewing Company and my employees seeking housing.

Prosper Longmont is an organization advocating for attainable for-purchase workforce housing in our city. We are a champion for those who are currently looking for or aspire to buy a home, as well as for the next generation of residents who desire to grow roots in our community. Our city is a highly desirable place to live and more people want to live here than we have homes for. My company hires people, both locally and from other parts of the country. At issue is that fact that the ability for those potential employees to find a reasonable place to live in Longmont has increasingly become a challenge, and they are being forced to look outside of town.

I urge city council and city staff to create a program to specifically address our workforce housing crisis.   A recent Rosen Group study commissioned by the National Association of Realtors quantified the national housing shortage at 5.5M to 6.8M homes. The study also identified the need for new home construction of 2.1 million a year for the next ten years. That would require that Longmont build 6,200 new homes in the next ten years to close the current housing gap.

Council has already acted to approve two complementary strategic plans that specifically call out strategies to address our housing crisis.

Envision Longmont strategies 1.2, 1.6, 1.10, 1.20, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 and 6.2 are all strategies (already approved by Council) designed to address to our housing challenges. 

Advance Longmont 2.0 identifies and supports Collective Impact as a tool to achieve growth, prosperity and inclusion within Longmont. It is a powerful framework to improve communication, alignment, and institutional knowledge between private, public, and nonprofit partners in our community. It also creates and deploys innovative projects that accelerate community and economic impact.

Advance Longmont 2.0 includes within its placemaking strategic the priority to “Ensure residential affordability for current and future residents.”

The City Council Work Plan Goal B1 is to “Have a diverse housing stock with higher densities, access to high quality public transportation, food and jobs.”

City Council, city staff, and community partners have done the strategic planning to identify key areas of focus for our city. 

It is now time for Council to take the tactical actions necessary to attain the goals that will activate and align both city and community resources in the interest of the collective well-being of our city and all its residents.

We all need to commit to addressing the known problem of attainable workforce housing and to hold ourselves accountable collectively to putting plans in place to fix it. Prosper Longmont and numerous community organizations support and encourage the Council to create a specific program whose purpose will be to set a goal for the number of for-purchase homes and to identify opportunities to accelerate the approval of, and construction of, housing sufficient to match the supply to the demand within our community.

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