Tourism Driving Homer's Economy
Wednesday, Homer Mayor Ken Castner was the guest on the Coffee Table, hosted by KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson. Castner talked about the housing in Homer, future developments and the effects of the Care Act.
Finding a place to live long term is difficult and has become a national problem. That is
commonly attributed to the high number of short-term rentals being offered in place of
apartments and housing for lease. Homer’s reliance on a tourism based economy means the
majority of housing is set up to accommodate tourists that are in town for short periods of time.
Homer Mayor Ken Caster said that is even affecting the winter months.
“In Homer, you know, a lot of the occasional rentals that people had for summer
housing for workers has turned into something much more lucrative. Through an Airbnb
much more, it's twice or three times as much money for less.
They're not even renting them in the winter now, because they're making so much money in the
summer that they don't need to be bothered. So it's a rippling sort of an effect,” Castner said.)
Supporting tourism in Homer is paramount to the economy. There are many businesses in
Homer that provide pieces of what a tourism based community needs to thrive. Host Kathleen
Gustafson brought up local businesses and asked what kinds of small businesses Homer still
“One I hear about a lot is childcare, you know, and, and so again, you have an
economy. It's a mixed economy. So we have people that, you know, Derotha says that 10% of
our, our workforce works for health care. So these people all have to go someplace, and they
they need to park their kids, if they're under, under school age, or even after school, they need
to have flexible schedules. So childcare is a big deal,” Castner said.)
The CARES Act was issued in 2020 with the Long title “To provide emergency assistance and
health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the Covid disease,”
That is according to congress.gov. Castner noted that Homer distributed more CARES Act funds than
most communities. He said those funds went towards the local economy.
“the Cares Act money was about 8020. So we got 80% into the hands of initially into
the hands of small businesses. And I do want to mention that I was astounded to learn that
there were 1023 small businesses that had a place of business in Homer and collected sales
tax for Homer was double what I would have imagined and and it just spoke to me volumes
about that Homer is a place of small businesses.
You can listen to the entire hour long conversation on kbbi.org or find the podcast on your