I appreciate you addressing the issue of how difficult it is to afford to live in Flagstaff in your “Poverty with a View” article. As a Flagstaff local in my mid-30s, who is very familiar with working two jobs and still having to live with my mother, I think this is important for us as a community to discuss.
I am, obviously, by no means in the minority with this experience. What I have a hard stomaching is that we have to ask if it is worth it. I love my hometown, I love the mountains, I love being with my family who lives here. Should my love and dedication really be the question?
I moved to Phoenix last year to earn a second degree in the hopes that I could come back to Flagstaff and afford to rent a place of my own, whether this is feasible or not is doubtful. I think a better question would be, why can I not afford to live here?
Why are Flagstaff locals renting their homes and rooms through Airbnb instead of renting to locals? Why are there so many vacant second homes? This cannot be passed off as our neighbors being greedy, this is a systemic issue. Locals who are fortunate enough to own homes and property are scared that soon they won’t be able to afford to live here as well. This has become a zero sum game and it is our community that is on the losing side.
Let us have a discourse on that subject. How we can change this situation. This is a function of our economy catering to visitors, students and tourists. It is a function of class, a function of mobility, but it most certainly is not a function of love.