JACKSON, Wyo. — The meteoric rise in housing prices in Teton County in 2021 has had a devastating effect for many in the community experiencing housing insecurity. Concerned about the rapidly changing character of Jackson Hole and the ability for essential employees to afford stable, secure housing, Teton County’s real estate community is stepping up to help.
Inspired by Devon Viehman, with full support of the Teton Board of Realtors, the Community Housing Fund was launched to make it easy for every agent and seller, at every transaction, to dedicate a portion of their proceeds to the development of new affordable housing opportunities for the workforce. The Community Housing Fund pools donations to maximize impact on this all-encompassing issue. In time, with the leadership from the real estate community, Viehman aims to grow participation in the program year-over-year so that contributions can have a profound impact on the community’s housing crisis.
With support of Jackson’s escrow community, each time an agent orders a title commitment, all agents, buyers, and sellers will be asked: “Does the Agent, Seller or Buyer intend to designate a contribution to the TBOR Community Housing Fund at closing?” Each donor directs their gift toward the support of the design, development, and construction of qualified affordable housing in Teton County, Wyoming.
In full support of the goals and objectives of the Community Housing Fund, 22 Fund Founders, listed in the image below, pledged over $150,000 to the Community Housing Fund to close out the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust’s $2.1M capital campaign that will make 24 affordable homes possible at 174 North King Street.
Of the Fund, Devon Viehman said, “The housing problem in our community affects every household, organization and employer in our community. Jackson is the community we all love because of dedicated, hardworking people who call this place home, but too many people are struggling to make ends meet. Our community needs this Fund now more than ever.”
Of the support from the Teton Board of Realtors, Anne Cresswell, Executive Director of the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust said, “The warm and enthusiastic response from the real estate community for the Community Housing Fund was inspiring. Their support was unanimous and their gratitude for the work of dedicated professionals in our community is sincere. With the support of the Community Housing Fund, the Community Housing Trust is delighted to close our fundraising efforts on King Street so that we can prioritize design and development work on our future projects.”
Sellers in the valley, wondering how they can make a difference, found the opportunity provided by the Community Housing Fund a great way to make an immediate impact. In 2007, Meg Daly and Mark Llinares bought a home in Rafter J. Fourteen years later they are ready to pursue other opportunities outside of Jackson. Over time, watching the prices of homes skyrocket, Meg said, “We have young, professional friends who live in rundown, cramped conditions. This is not sustainable. In addition to selling our home to a local Jackson family, we are thrilled to contribute to the Community Housing Fund – it allows us to give back a portion of our good fortune. We don’t want to be a part of the problem and the Community Housing Fund is a streamlined way for us to be a part of the solution.”
Currently, the Community Housing Fund has two beneficiaries — the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust and Teton Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Teton Area — both organizations have shovel-ready projects in need of philanthropic support.
Are you buying or selling a home? Consider donating a portion of the proceeds to the Community Housing Fund and encourage your realtor to join you.