I am writing as a citizen of Moab and a person that works for the state of Utah with clients that struggle to find housing in this community. I have lived in Moab for over four years now and when my wife and I moved here we did not have any kids. We were able to both find full-time employment with benefits in the area. We are not beholden to seasonal income and get paid roughly the same amount each month. We live in a nice single-family home and pay $1,200 a month in rent. This is not a common thing in Moab. As you and your readers know, the population and workforce is very seasonal. The housing/rental market in Moab becomes more and more unaffordable each year. I work with many people that are employed full-time during the season that live on couches or with other families to be able to provide for their families. This is not a tenable situation for the local people in the community. Moab does not have cheaper feeder communities like Aspen, Colorado, or Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There are wait lists at the Virginian Apartments, Cinema Court and the Huntridge apartments that go for months.
As a community, there needs to be a real commitment from every person in this community, as new hotels go up, that there will be places for the people that live here all year round can afford and find even when the season is booming. Our economy is based on tourism and I love what that brings to our community. What I can’t abide any longer is the feeling of many of the people I work with and talk to on a daily basis that the people that work at the restaurants, hotels and businesses around town are feeling like second class citizens or not as important to decision makers as the tourists are.
The people of this community deserve the opportunity to live in homes (apartments) of their own without worrying about what happens when the season slows down. I am not saying anything that hasn’t been said before. I am hopeful that the people on the city and county councils see the need for more affordable housing and are willing to put the effort in to create a Moab that locals feel empowered to be a part of in the future.