Salida, Chaffee County and Buena Vista partner to create regional housing authority
Solving the affordable housing issue in Salida isn’t a new concept, nor is it an easy problem to tackle. But, on Tuesday, September 15, City leadership took another significant step toward easing the housing strain on low-income workers in Chaffee County by approving an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Chaffee County and Buena Vista.
How Will the IGA Operate?
- Create housing policies that promote equitable development;
- Advocate for projects that provide attainable, affordable, and workforce housing;
- Spearhead programs for local families and employees of local employers;
- Review local land use codes and development codes to ensure they support attainable housing;
- Review deed restrictions;
- Promote small-scale housing projects.
“The Authority’s role will be to work collaboratively at the state and local level to leverage resources we haven’t tapped into before,” said Becky Gray, Chaffee County’s housing director. “The Authority will coordinate public-private partnerships to bring resources to Chaffee County and connect local service providers to those resources.”
Salida adopted an inclusionary housing ordinance in 2018 requiring 12.5% of any new residential development with more than five units must be affordable. However, even with this provision, the City and the county have experienced rapid growth over the last decade, and consequently, the demand for attainable and affordable housing has grown to exceed the available supply.
According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Chaffee County added 439 new jobs over roughly the last twelve months. Of those jobs, 85% pay less than the area’s median income of $50,000 and 42% pay less than $30,000. This means that 42% of these new employees would qualify for permanent affordable housing. “It’s important that we increase awareness of what housing insecurity looks like and coordinate advocacy efforts in the county,” Gray added.
Who Makes up the Chaffee Housing Authority
- 9 elected board members total
- 3 from Chaffee County
- 2 from Salida
- 2 form Buena Vista
- 2 at-large members
Once appointed, the board will develop a strategic plan and focus on their long-term vision and goals for the Authority.
“This is an exciting step for the County and our partner communities,” stated Gray. “Our collaborative approach demonstrates that we’re all willing to work together to address this crisis and gives me a lot of hope for our success in the future.”