Kaley Arboleda: Engaging the Tahoe Community in Affordable Housing Initiatives

Written by Kaley Arboleda, Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member, May 2024

As the Housing Outreach Coordinator at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), I’ve been involved in the vital housing amendments focused on affordable and workforce housing developments in the Tahoe region. This initiative addresses a pressing issue: the severe shortage of affordable housing, which impacts local residents, the economy, and overall community well-being. Our goal is to gather comprehensive input from various stakeholders to shape policies that will foster equitable housing opportunities and achieve environmental targets.

To achieve this, I have worked on crafting a multifaceted community engagement strategy in collaboration with the long-range planning department. Recognizing the diversity of our community, I have developed multilingual outreach materials, will be conducting public workshops, facilitated online surveys, and conducted one-on-one interviews. These methods ensured we reached a broad audience, including underrepresented groups. The engagement is designed to be inclusive, providing platforms for residents to voice their concerns, share experiences, and offer suggestions. This feedback is critical in crafting policies that truly reflect the needs and aspirations of the Tahoe community.

A significant component of my work also involves leveraging GIS to visually communicate the policies being approved. By mapping out existing multifamily-allowed zones, pedestrian walkshed, and transit access, we could pinpoint where future affordable and workforce housing can be developed. This data-driven approach enabled us to create targeted strategies for equitable housing access. Furthermore, we facilitated direct engagement with Spanish-speaking stakeholders by organizing and conducting meetings and presentations in Spanish. This ensured that language barriers did not exclude any group from the decision-making process.

In summary, the affordable and workforce housing initiative at TRPA is a comprehensive effort to address the critical housing crisis in Tahoe. By combining community engagement with data-driven analysis, we are working towards creating inclusive and effective housing policies. This project underscores the importance of involving diverse voices in policymaking and demonstrates how targeted, well-informed interventions can lead to sustainable community development. Through this work, we hope to pave the way for a more equitable and vibrant Tahoe region.

Funding for SNAP is supported by Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s Nature Fund and Martis Fund – a collaborative project of Martis Camp landowners, DMB/Highlands Group (the developers of Martis Camp), Mountain Area Preservation Foundation (MAP), and Sierra Watch. Sierra Nevada Alliance is a proud grantee of AmeriCorps and California Volunteers, Office of the Governor.

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