Several months have passed since the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) and the Pagosa Springs Town Council publicly announced their intention to prioritize workforce housing in Archuleta County.
With winter in full force and vacation homes filled with ski-season visitors, housing remains a challenge for the community.
On Dec. 8, the new CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation (CHF) visited Pagosa Springs in order to better understand health in the area through a listening tour.
During the meeting, members of the community and heads from various organizations raised concerns about poverty in Archuleta County.
When asked to outline the factors contributing to poverty and the impact of poverty on locals, several attendees spoke about the continuing struggle for accessible and affordable housing.
During the conversation, Superintendent of the Archuleta School District (ASD) Linda Reed added, “Living conditions, housing, access to affordable housing,” to the growing list of concerns.
She went on to relay to the audience that over the summer, a family moved to Pagosa and was forced to live in a tent because they could not find adequate housing. This made it difficult for the parents to transport their child to kindergarten.
When asked how residents are coping with these housing challenges, participants communicated that people are moving to the outskirts of town or being forced to leave entirely.
Attendees also drew connections between accessible and affordable housing, low wages, high living expenses and service industry jobs.