Littleton residents worry about housing affordability, availability

Issues discussed during special town hall hosted by the Littleton Independent

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The lack of housing availability and affordability was discussed at length during a special town hall meeting hosted by the Littleton Independent on June 30.

Held in downtown Littleton, Colorado Community Media Publisher Linda Shapley led discussions that ranged from local development and priorities to how the media can continue to serve the community. 

In discussions surrounding housing, Monica Fuglei, the head of the Department of English for Arapahoe Community College, said she is already seeing the effects of the chaotic housing market that has taken hold in the Denver metro area.

Fuglei said staff at the community college cannot afford to live in Littleton or nearby, causing longer commutes.

Further, Fuglei pointed to the high home prices eliminating the ability for local families to buy in Littleton. The ripple effect will be fewer families coming to town, fewer students enrolling in the Littleton Public Schools district and eventually continued enrollment decreases at the community college.

With housing supplies also being a problem, the nearly 20 residents attending the town hall also expressed concern with how Littleton leaders are handling development prospects. Several said they are not against growth but would like town officials to ask more questions and hold developers more accountable.

When asked what residents like about Littleton, many were in agreement that the small-town feel and sense of community make it home.

Susan Meeker, who has lived in the area since 1967, said Littleton has a strong history with its city museum and longstanding newspaper and community traditions such as the Western Welcome Week celebration.

Former Littleton Mayor Pat Cronenberger said she loves that Littleton has always been able to stand on its own. From being the first to bring public housing to the region, to standing up to the federal government to manage the South Platte River locally, Cronenberger said Littleton has always worked hard to maintain strong culture and history.

When it comes to the coverage provided by the Littleton Independent, which is part of Colorado Community Media, participants said they liked the hyper-local coverage the hometown newspapers provide.

Some asked for more investigative news, and Arapahoe Community College student Lillian Fuglei said she wants reporters to take major national news events and break them down locally, telling residents exactly how the issues will affect them.

The special town hall hosted by Colorado Community Media wrapped up a year-long project in which the Littleton Independent worked to gauge readers on a variety of levels. The newspaper gave residents an opportunity to give opinions through an online survey and in a variety of focus groups.

Littleton Independent, affordable housing, development, Arapahoe Community College, Colorado Community Media

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