Beyond Beer: Our Mission Towards Affordable Housing
Posted: November 29, 2023
Longmont is where we work, live, and play
We’ve called Longmont home for 30 years. When our Co-Founder and President, Eric Wallace, retired from the Air Force, he and his wife Cinzia traveled throughout the western U.S. looking for a town to call home. They chose Longmont and moved when Cinzia was seven months pregnant with their first child. They believed Longmont was the community to raise their children, start a new business and establish long-term roots.
Fast forward three decades and Eric’s two daughters now work at the brewery. Unfortunately, because of the sharp rise in housing in recent years, it’s been incredibly challenging for his family and employees to consider buying or renting in Longmont.
What’s happening in Longmont: Workforce housing is a major challenge for Left Hand and many other business owners in our community. It has become a crisis for us. Eric recently conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between the distance of our employees’ commutes and their length of employment at Left Hand from 2016 through 2021. He discovered that the farther someone has to drive, the shorter their tenure at Left Hand tends to be. From a business perspective, this increases recruiting and training costs, and reduces the amount of overall experience on our team. From a quality-of-life perspective, it also causes people to spend more time commuting as opposed to spending that precious time with their family and friends
Current policies and decisions in Longmont are impacting affordable housing and exacerbating the housing crisis. If our young people can’t afford to buy homes in Longmont and build equity, the nature of our community will be heavily impacted over time. Without increased housing density, transportation via transit is less feasible and more open space will disappear under tract homes. In addition, more road miles bring more air pollution and more road rage. Our city can’t say that we are inclusive while acting to be exclusive.
Five main reasons Longmont desperately needs more attainable housing: 1. It’s healthy. 2. It builds sustainable communities. 3. It promotes diversity. 4. It can actually decrease traffic. 5. It allows families to put down roots.
Now that we’ve filled you in a bit on the crisis we’re facing in our own backyard, we’d like to share some of the things we’re doing behind the scenes to take action. Our 9-5 is spent brewing up delicious beers, but our 5-9 has been busy trying to help young people find a place to plant their roots.
In 2020, we co-founded Prosper Longmont: a coalition of residents, businesses, and civic leaders representing a cross-section of the community who have come together to bring a collective voice to the critical issue of attainable housing in Longmont. To learn more about Prosper Longmont, check out the link below!
Whether you’re a Colorado local facing the same issues in your own city, or a beer connoisseur who just wants to help the new generation thrive, you can make an impact. We regularly gather over beers before attending city council meetings, so we’ll keep you in the loop if you are interested in joining us! In the meantime, you can contact the Longmont City Council below.