Idaho's housing crisis is once again getting national media attention. This time, the New York Times profiled the problems with finding an affordable place to live in the Sun Valley area. Housing is so expensive that people have moved into garages, campers, and tents. These aren't just low-income workers. The cost of housing is so expensive that even a small business owner and a school principal have lived in make-shift shelters.

There are plenty of people that offer opinions on the state's housing situation. The fact is that many people don't qualify for the low-income options currently provided, yet they still can't afford to live in regularly priced homes. This lower tier of the middle class is struggling the most.

As Idaho's housing issues grow, employers find it more and more challenging to find on-location employees. Many have found remote work that pays just as much if not more for the opportunity to stay home. While not everyone can be effective by working this way, many people want to try it. How does a company compete with that? What if the company offered its employees a housing option?

I know. You don't like your co-workers. Would you want to live with them? Chances are, your co-workers don't like you either, so when you get home, you'd be able to do your own thing. Employee housing isn't a new concept. Fire Departments all over America have been doing this forever. The initial investment is sizable, but it may be how to retain hard-to-retain employees in that lower tier of the middle class.

Courtesy Sun Valley Resort
Courtesy Sun Valley Resort

The Sun Valley Company, the owner of Sun Valley Resort, is doing this now. They offer both dorm-style living and housing for couples. These may not be the same luxury celebrities like Harry Styles, or the Kardashians get at Sun Valley Resort, but the cost is significantly different. They have rooms with 4-person bunks or two-person rooms, both with communal bathrooms. They also have rooms for couples that have private bathrooms. They have a fitness center and free laundry facilities. They charge between $140-$210 every two weeks for rent.

While dorm-style living may not be what you had planned for yourself as an adult, it's better than living in a garage, camper, or tent. Is the cost of constant turnover less than this type of investment? That is a math equation for businesses to assess on their own.

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