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The Reno-Tahoe area is facing a severe shortage of affordable housing, impacting everyone from families to employers to even the police force. Over the next several months, KUNR will explore the housing crunch from the perspective of tenants, landlords, homeowners, businesses, realtors and economic experts, looking at the challenges and possible solutions.

The Link Between The Economy And The Environment In Tahoe

There is a small wave inbound on a sandy shore of Lake Tahoe while large rocks are peaking out of the emerald water. A hill covered in trees is visible in the background. A snowcapped mountainscape is visible in the far background, too.
Will Stone

Affordable housing doesn’t seem like an obvious topic for the Tahoe Summit, but housing and lake clarity are linked. Our Tahoe reporter Amy Westervelt has that story. 

Summer brings lots of visitor traffic to Lake Tahoe each year, but there are plenty of locals on the road too. “More than 50% of the people are commuting into the Basin for work and out of the Basin for work. So some people live here and commute out for better wages and others commute in for some of the tourism and seasonal jobs from areas where housing is more affordable,” says Heidi Hill-Drumm with the Tahoe Prosperity Center. “Continuing to have so many vehicle miles traveled is contributing to the loss of lake clarity.”

Drum volunteered at the first Tahoe Summit 20 years ago and has always loved the lake. “What we would like to see is more people living and working in the Basin and therefore our community, economy and the environment all win."

She says she hopes the politicians visiting this week understand the link between the environment and the economy.

Amy Westervelt is a former contributor at KUNR Public Radio.
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