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Helping Essential Workers Build Affordable Places to Call Home

Habitat for humanity

As an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Aspen Middle School, Lyssa loves her job. “I’m a teacher through and through,” she says. Lyssa has lived and worked in the Colorado mountain community for more than a decade and never wanted to change her career. Faced with exorbitant housing and rental prices in the Roaring Fork Valley, however, she felt that staying there seemed impossible.


Lyssa had to consider what was manageable for her and her husband, Jeremy, and their two children, 6-year-old Arlo and 4-year-old Willa. And it wasn’t just their family facing the prospect of leaving. Lyssa saw firsthand that a dire lack of affordable housing in the valley was the driving force behind the school district’s challenge to recruit and retain teachers. “It’s impossible to find any housing on a teacher salary,” Lyssa says. “Our valley loses a lot of teachers because of housing.”