Affordable housing promoted

Residents encouraged to sign up for self-help housing program

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At Thursday night's affordable housing open house, Yampa Valley Housing Authority officials showed site plans for upcoming projects, and talked about financing options and the process of getting into housing.

But the most important thing, the officials said Thursday, was for anyone interested in obtaining affordable housing through the authority to sign up.

The housing authority is looking for interested families for its self-help housing programs in Oak Creek and Hayden. The programs are expected to start in March, and all the families have to be on board.

"What we are really interested in is finding a few more people for the self-help program that is going to break ground in a few months," said self-help housing group coordinator Jennifer Jones.

Because qualifying for the programs can take a few weeks, Jones encouraged anyone interested in the program to apply now.

The self-help program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture and has homeowners gain sweat equity through building their own homes. Part of the self-help housing program teaches homeowners the tools for building a home; a construction supervisor oversees the project.

Four single-family homes and a duplex are planned for Oak Creek, and eight units are set for Hayden. Heidi Nunnikhoven with the housing authority showed the group detailed drawings of the proposed homes.

She said the housing designs for the homes have been set and could not be changed. For the Hayden project, the housing authority created the designs based on the subdivision's regulation.

"To make this program work, we can't do any changes," she said. "This is not going to be your self-designed dream house, but it will be a very nice designed house."

More than 20 people, of all ages and some with children, attended the open house sponsored by the housing authority and held in Centennial Hall.

Housing Authority President Kathi Meyer told the group that from the participation she saw that night, authority officials hope to hold additional information expos.

Meyer encouraged people interested in affordable housing to sign up so the authority could assess the needs in the county and to find what kind of grants would work best with those needs. Many of the grants are for those making 80 percent or less of the median income, which would be $53,000 for a family of four and $37,000 for a single person in Routt County.

Meyer also talked about upcoming plans for Fox Creek Village, a proposed 30-unit townhome development off Hilltop Parkway.

The project is expected to break ground in the spring and should be completed nine months later, Meyer said. If there is enough interest in the project, Meyer said, they would hold a lottery, similar to the one for the West End Village homes, to determine who would get first crack at owning the homes.

Meyer estimates the cost of the Fox Creek units to range from $150,000 to $175,000.

At least half the units will have deed restrictions, Meyer said, but the exact amount of deed-restricted units will not be determined until the housing authority lines up a contractor.

The units are expected to be 1,000 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The project plans for five buildings with six units each. The townhomes also would come with association fees.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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