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2016 Economic Summit to Focus on Housing
Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Affordable housing—and middle-income housing—will be the focus of the 2016 Economic Summit to be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Sun Valley Inn.

The summit, organized by Sun Valley Economic Development (SVED), is titled “The Intersection of Housing & Talent Attraction in Our Economy.”

Jon Roberts, of TIP Strategies of Austin, Texas, and Seattle, Wash., will set the tone by addressing “The Economics of Housing—Setting the Stage.”

His talk will be followed by three panels exploring different perspectives on local housing challenges and opportunities.

They include:

  • What is the business/employer challenge in Blaine County for middle income housing and how is that connected to talent acquisition?
  • The builder perspective on housing
  • Regulatory authority perspective.

Roberts will then return with “The Economics of Housing: What I Heard You Say” as he explores how best to move forward with action steps.

SVED, which is headed up by Harry Griffith, has decided that adequate housing available is the foundation for any economic growth and wants to use the summit to start the conversation for making workable changes.

Housing prices in the valley have escalated so that new homes now cost $500,000 and more—far above the cut-off point for middle income families, which is $330,000.

“What we’re trying to do is get all the stakeholders in the room to talk to each other,” said Doug Brown, spokesperson for SVED. “We want to get employers talking about their needs and builders talking about the challenges of building affordable housing. Then we want the government leaders, after listening, to talk about how they see things."

“We don’t have the solutions,” he added. “We’re saying, ‘Look into the future. This is a big problem because the economy can’t grow without new people.’ I feel like we’re the tugboat trying to push the big ocean liner.”

SVED has put on an annual economic summit for business, government and nonprofit community for the past four years. About 250 people attended last year’s summit, which explored such themes as resilience, innovation, world-local economy and economic sustainability.

The event includes continental breakfast and networking from 8 to 9 a.m., a coffee break and buffet luncheon.

Tickets are $100, available online at

Sponsors include Cox Business, Sun Valley Realtors, Power Engineers, Sun Valley Resort, Idaho Power and St. Luke’s Wood River Hospital. Magleby Construction and Conrad Brothers Construction are providing scholarship tickets for high school students.

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