After four months of researching and reporting on the region’s housing crisis, it’s safe to say that the hearts of Moonshine Ink’s staff are feeling a bit heavy. For me, the epiphany occurred last month on a Sunday afternoon when a vacation rental company hired me to shoot three houses in South Lake Tahoe. Shooting multiple houses in a day isn’t abnormal anymore, but shooting three homes owned by the same person felt like an eye-opening punch to the stomach. I realized that day that we’re no longer just a community of second homes — we’re a community of second, third, and, apparently, fourth homes that are being utilized solely for the business opportunity in a thriving vacation rental market.

In 2004, when I was a freshman at Truckee High School, one of my friends and his older brothers created a simple clothing brand known only as Keep Tahoe Local. Being young and, admittedly, very naive, we wore the merchandise as a way to let the second home owners know we were “the real” locals, and tried our best to coach them on how to drive in the roundabouts. Just over a decade later, Keep Tahoe Local is no longer a clothing brand, but a fight we’re all facing to keep our friends and loved ones in the area.

The reality of this housing crisis has spared no victims. Over the past year I’ve sat and listened as my parents, who have been Truckee residents for 30 years, debate whether or not it’s finally time to sell their home they’ve been perfecting since 2002. With this reality, I’ve had to ask myself the most difficult question of all: Is Truckee becoming a place that I will no longer be able to call my home?

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While I’d like my answer to be “Hell no,” the verdict will depend upon the kind of action our community can rally in the coming years to make Tahoe affordable again.

If there’s one thing I can testify to from being a member of this community for 26 years, it’s that when the going gets tough, Tahoe locals always find a way to support one another. There isn’t one solution to this crisis; however, this month we’ve explored several good starting points with Housing Solutions: Making The Pieces Fit, here. Together, we can make Tahoe local again.

Author

  • Jeremy Jensen

    Truckee native Jeremy Jensen found his passion for photography over the course of many outdoor adventures. In college he combined geography studies with digital media in order to have a career in education and environmental advocacy. Most days he’s just figuring out how to see more of the world. Jensen is Moonshine Ink’s photographer and photo editor.

    Connect with Jeremy

    Visit:
    M-Tu, Th-Fr 9:30am - 6pm
    10317 Riverside Dr
    Truckee, CA 96161

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