By Jamie Leary

FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – There’s a concerted effort underway to make a dent in housing crisis in the high country. Summit County and the town of Breckenridge launched a program Oct. 15 and the town of Frisco plans to launch a pilot program beginning in November.

“Our program is called Frisco Housing Locals, and it’s a pilot program, really small scale, to incentivize owners who might be interested in renting their property to help with the housing crisis,” said Eva Henson, Housing Manager for the town of Frisco.

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The pilot program in Frisco, while smaller scale, is a more comfortable starting point for many homeowners. The lease commitment is just six months; the tenants are screened beforehand; and, the property is managed professionally.

“For the homeowner, it actually gives them security of knowing that the tenants already been screened first and foremost it also allows them to sort of have that long-term lease in place, managed by the town and the management company overseeing it and sort of having consistent income for the next six months and not having to worry about the short term rental aspect with the cleanings and the move-ins and the checkouts,” said Henson.

Frisco plans to launch between November and December, with an initial goal of housing for 25 town employees.

“This is a good jumping off point because we actually have several homeowners ready to come into the program right now, sign a master lease with the town, and we could certainly occupy our employees starting in November to December.”

Lease to Locals is the program the town of Breckenridge recently launched with Summit County.

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The program provides up to $24,000 to property managers and owners to convert short-term rentals into seasonal and long-term rentals, and is administered by Landing Locals, a Truckee, California-based startup specializing in mountain-community workforce housing.

The goal of the pilot program is to convert up to 100 units this winter and build on the program for summer 2022.

In an e-mail, Jason Dietz, Summit County’s housing manager wrote:

“So many businesses are working long (probably unsustainable in the long term) hours and having to cut hours of operation due to a massive employee shortage which is in part due to a massive housing shortage. If we were to spend $500-$600K on new construction it would first, take a long time to complete and second, only create 3 maybe 4 permanent bedrooms give the cost of construction. With L2L we’re hoping that we can spend $500-$600K to unlock 100+ bedrooms that will immediately be available to the local workforce for housing.”

Dietz said as of Monday, the program has had 800 web visits and around 70 people reached out with lots of interest.

The town of Frisco said it would eventually like to explore a longer-term rental option with subsidies for homeowners, but wants to see how the six month pilot works first.

“We’re shooting for six months and then we’re planning on interviewing and asking actually doing by a survey asking the homeowners and the tenants what was successful, would you be interested in doing this longer and staying in the program potentially and evolving it as it grows,” said Henson.

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Find more information on workforce housing in Frisco.

Jamie Leary