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Idaho Ketchum

Ketchum, Idaho, Has Plenty of Available Jobs, but Workers Can’t Afford Housing

KETCHUM, Idaho—Ethan McKee-Bakos has had no trouble finding work since he moved to this upscale mountain town last February, earning $60,000 a year from two jobs. But Mr. McKee-Bakos spent nearly six weeks living out of his SUV in the nearby Sawtooth National Forest, unable to afford rent for a condo. “If you live in…

KETCHUM, Idaho—Ethan McKee-Bakos has had no trouble finding work since he moved to this upscale mountain town last February, earning $60,000 a year from two jobs. But Mr. McKee-Bakos spent nearly six weeks living out of his SUV in the nearby Sawtooth National Forest, unable to afford rent for a condo.

“If you live in Ketchum, there’s no shortage of work. There’s just a shortage of where you can live,” said Mr. McKee-Bakos, who works as a supply manager at a local hospital and a bouncer at a bar. “This is the first time I’ve experienced any type of homelessness.”

Like many towns in the West with economies built around tourism, Ketchum is facing a cascading housing crisis caused by a rush of new residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, growing dem

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