Housing has long been a barrier in the valley. Nearly half of properties are vacation homes that sit vacant for much of the year or operate as short-term rentals for visitors. The result is low inventory and high prices that create financial strain for the hourly workers who support tourism in the area, as well as the teachers, police officers, firefighters and nurses who make the region feel less like a hospitality engine and more like home to year-round residents.

Recently, as housing prices have continued to soar throughout the United States, that barrier has become insurmountable for many, with teachers and school staff moving out of the district at alarming rates, leaving students, families and the staff who stay without their lifeblood, left to pick up the pieces and rebuild until another crop of employees decides next year that it is time for them, too, to move on.

Eagle County is a dramatic example of what many say is a national crisis. The evidence is everywhere. In Arizona, a school district is building tiny homes to house its teachers. In Texas, a district purchased a motel to rent out the rooms as staff housing. In California, district leaders have asked families to rent spare rooms in their homes to educators struggling to find a place to live.

Inflation has caused the price of basic goods and services to go up, and in no industry has that been more extreme than housing, for both buyers and renters. Meanwhile, teacher salaries have remained mostly stagnant (or where they’ve increased, it’s been insufficient to match the rising costs of meeting basic needs). What many communities are finding is that when affordable housing is scarce, so are teachers.

Read the full article about affordable housing and educators by Emily Tate Sullivan at EdSurge.