Self-help housing presented to Hayden

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The Hayden Town Board learned Thursday night that the town may get the chance to grow with the construction of up to eight affordable houses if enough people show interest.

Ellen Hoj, director of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, gave a presentation about "Hands-On Housing," a program that offers subsidized housing costs and loan programs for homebuyers who can help with the building process.

Hoj said the program could generate $1 million for construction.

She said for the program to begin, six to eight prospective homebuilders must show interest, and part of her reason for being at the meeting was to generate interest and get the word out.

"This program is set up exactly for these types of towns," Hoj said. "But we only have about a month to figure out where to go from here."

She said other representatives for the Hands-On Housing program were giving a similar presentation to the Oak Creek Town Board on Thursday, too.

RALF's self-help program provides residents the opportunity to own their homes by requiring them to provide labor equal to 65 percent of the work necessary to build the homes, but no construction experience is needed to participate. A professional construction supervisor will be on site to make sure everything is up to code, Hoj said.

People who choose to work in the program work together as a team on every house, and no one can move in until all the houses are complete, Hoj said.

The program is open to people living or working in Routt County who make between 50 percent and 80 percent of the median income and meet other guidelines. It has been implemented successfully in Steamboat Springs, Hoj said.

A $390,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates that RALF build 24 homes in 24 months. Seven units of self-help housing are under way in West End Village in Steamboat, meaning RALF must build another 17 units by September 2005 to meet the restrictions of the grant.

In other business:

n Hayden residents Crystal Turner and Sherry Dunkley were appointed to the Recreation Board.

n A resolution was approved that officially contracted Russell Martin as the town manager through 2005.

n Race organizer Jim Gill proposed getting together with the town to look at plans for construction of Dry Creek Park this summer to see if they could coincide with a possible "super stage" area for this year's Colorado Cog Rally race that runs for a weekend in the summer on dirt roads between Steamboat and Craig. The super stage would consist of a smaller track so spectators could see what the rally cars do in a smaller area than the regular course, which spans more than 100 miles. Several members of the Town Board said they liked the event and the economic boost it provides and would be willing to look into the matter further.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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