Vacation towns dependent on tourism are facing an increasing shortfall of available and affordable housing for their local workforce.
In 2019, Colin and Kai Frolich started Landing Locals to tackle the housing issues facing vacation towns head-on. Due to the shortage of inventory, rental costs have risen dramatically while most of the housing inventory, owned by second-home owners, sits vacant for the majority of the year.
They leveraged Colin’s previous experience in leadership positions at technology companies Lyft and Airbnb and Kai’s roles in community development at nonprofits. Together, they created an online marketplace to unlock second-homes and rent them to local employees in the Lake Tahoe area. And today, Landing Locals announces their expansion into Big Sky, Montana in partnership with the Big Sky Community Housing Trust.
The mission of the Big Sky Community Housing Trust is to secure more long-term housing for the local workforce. In 2017, in partnership with over 20 other stakeholder organizations, they developed the Big Sky Housing Action Plan and identified the need to create at least 500 housing units for local workers by 2023. Because of the lack of available rental units and high
home prices, more than half the Big Sky workforce commutes nearly an hour each way from Bozeman, with the majority preferring to live locally. As the Big Sky short-term vacation rental properties have seen explosive growth, long-term rental opportunities for local workers have diminished and rental prices have soared. No effective system exists for potential tenants to search and find long term rental options, nor for unit owners to advertise.
Laura Seyfang, executive director of BSCHT says, “We saw an immediate mission alignment between Landing Locals and BSCHT. We are excited to bring this technology solution to Big Sky to unlock new affordable housing to create a more stable local workforce.”
Frolich adds, “After our initial launch in Lake Tahoe we’ve seen incredible results in creating a technology enabled marketplace to unlock over 30 new rentals for 75 locals in under a year. We are excited to bring Landing Locals to Big Sky and plan to expand into many more mountain towns in 2020 to further advance our mission of supporting tourism communities, while protecting and fostering a vibrant middle class.”