Collaboration is critical to developing affordable housing in Jackson and the Housing Trust has helped some of the County's largest employers address their workforce housing needs. These innovative partnerships have maximized the resources of both parties and emphasized the Housing Trust's expertise as an affordable housing developer.
The Town Council has long recognized the contribution affordable housing makes to a viable economy. As stewards of the community and one of the largest employers in Teton County, the town relies on affordable housing to recruit and retain a stable, high-quality network of employees. In 2008, the Housing Trust and the Town came together to develop eight affordable homes at Daisy Bush; in 2014, the Housing Trust and the Town partnered on the acquisition of six lots on Redmond and Hall Streets which will enable the Housing Trust to develop 18 affordable rentals for dedicated members of our workforce. For Bob McLaurin, Jackson Town Administrator, "affordable housing is an essential part of our community's infrastructure. Home ownership strengthens our community and enhances our local economy. The Town of Jackson's partnership with the Housing Trust helped us provide municipal services by enabling our critical employees to live in the community."
In 2014, the Housing Trust and Teton County School District pioneered a new model for public and private partnership that leverages the financial and development expertise of the Housing Trust to meet a critical need of the School District. In recognition of the strengths of each organization, the school leased a three acre parcel of land to the Housing Trust which managed the development and financed the construction of 11 homes. About this new model, Syd Elliot, TCSD Trustee, said: "The bottom line for me is that, by thinking outside the box, we were able to make 11 families a permanent part of this community. It is so exciting to see that these homes were made possible because of a unique and innovative partnership."
Despite the importance of state-of-the-art facilities and modern technology, the top driver of local health care excellence at St. John's Medical Center is a stable workforce of skilled and compassionate medical professionals. "Quality, stable housing located near the medical center is essential in order to meet the health needs of this community," said Lou Hochheiser, MD, CEO.
Housing is essential to the ability of St. John's Medical Center to recruit and retain nurses, physicians, and other hospital employees. St. John's workforce is comprised of highly trained and educated professionals in dozens of medical specialties and support services such as medical coding and health information systems. Due to this specialization, St. John's usually needs to recruit from out of the area to fill vacancies. Staff turnover reduces patient satisfaction and carries additional costs, including the expense of recruiting and training new staff.
It is critical that essential patient care employees live near the hospital so they can respond to emergencies and other needs 24/7/365. "While we have successfully built a modest housing program to meet our employee housing needs, we will only be able to manage our growing needs for workforce housing by continuing our work with professional partners such as the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust," said Hochheiser.
The high cost of housing in Teton County makes it extremely difficult for the BTNF to recruit and maintain a workforce capable of managing 3.4 million acres of land (an area nearly the size of Connecticut). Because the Federal Government requires employees to rely on the private market for housing, organizations like the Housing Trust are critical to the success of the Bridger-Teton. Tricia O’Connor, BTNF Supervisor relies on partnerships like the one the Bridger-Teton enjoys with the Housing Trust: “We have to look to the Housing Trust for support in creating housing opportunities for our employees, housing that will keep trained workers in our community and will help the Forest Service attract new employees that will be dedicated to caring for the land and serving people."