When a region experiences soaring property values, it’s well known to be good for sellers and not-so-good for buyers. But it can be a nightmare for longtime middle-income residents who can be priced right out of their homes by ballooning rent or mortgage bills. Most often, the ones most challenged are those who support the local infrastructure and service industries.

For employers, including FBOs such as Atlantic Aviation at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in the chic Colorado ski resort, the challenges of booming real estate include ensuring their employees have enough compensation to afford to stay in town and keep showing up for work.

Atlantic, with a staff that fluctuates between 45 to 60, meets that challenge, in part, with a monthly $1,000 housing allowance for all full-time employees. General manager Jonathan Jones said, “One of the biggest things we’ve seen in the last two years is rent going up. I’ve heard stories about rent being $1,600 and now it’s $2,600.”

His aim is to “help people stay where they are instead of moving away, and it can help as a down payment on a house or for somebody who qualifies for employee housing.”

While the housing stipend ultimately serves the long-term best interests of maintaining an ongoing business by retaining an experienced workforce, Jones told a local Aspen newspaper, “I think it goes back to the simple principle that we’re for them [the employees] and not against them. You look at ways to better their lives, and when they see that, it secures the culture that you want and it secures the belief that what we’re working for is not just about the bottom line.”

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