Roommate Roundup helps workers
October 26, 2012
The Christian Center of Park City and Mountainlands Housing Trust are sponsoring the 10th annual Roommate Roundup that assists seasonal workers in finding roommates and housing.
"So they can look for people who are renting a place and for other people who are looking for a space just like they are," said Rob Harter, Executive Director of the Christian Center of Park City.
Representatives from Mountainlands Housing Trust, which provides affordable housing, will be present to assist workers looking for long-term housing.
"Because of the way they are set up, Mountainlands has a hard time providing three to four month leases," Harter said. "But some of these workers end up staying longer. It’s a separate thing, but it’s certainly nice to be able to put in front of these workers and say, here’s an organization that can help you if you’re looking for long-term housing."
Providing housing for the workers has become more difficult each year, with last year being the most difficult, Harter said.
"A lot of people couldn’t afford their place anymore so they’ve sold their second home they were providing these workers to rent," Harter said.
Another issue is that because of the economy, a lot of the homeowners can’t afford to do three- to four-month leases, or even six-month leases, and so they are only offering 12-month leases, Harter said.
"We also had a lot more international students that used to come through, but the ski resorts are hiring less and less international students now," Harter said. "I think a lot of people liked the novelty of international students."
Because of the economy and less fewer job openings, the government has mandated that the goal is to hire more Americans, especially people who are out of work. And one way to do this is to offer fewer J-1 and H2B visas, said Harter.
"J-1s are typically your young college students in their 20s, and H2B is more your seasoned worker," Harter said. "They cut way back on issuing the visas and the argument is, ‘We’re not even hiring our own people for jobs. Why are we giving them to people from out of the country? Let’s hire our own people because lack of employment.’"
So Harter is encouraging the community to open or rent their homes to seasonal workers.
"You may have that apartment you need to fill for a 12-month renter, but in the meantime, maybe make some money with a short-term lease," Harter said. "Because it’s not unusual for three or four students from Chile, who can pay $300 to $500 a month, to all want to stay together. So you can make some money, certainly get your place rented, and if you have four students in there, it may cover your mortgage. So it’s a win-win in many ways."
Roommate Roundup will be held Wednesdays, Nov. 14 to Dec. 19 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Christian Center at 1283 Deer Valley Drive in Park City. For more information, call Rob Harter at 435-649-2260.