Housing director resigns

Manager: Yampa Valley Housing Authority 'in flux' at critical time

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Elizabeth Black, seen here in her office on the CMC campus in Steamboat Springs on Friday morning, recently resigned her post as the executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

— Elizabeth Black has resigned as executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

Black unexpectedly announ-ced her resignation Thursday at the end of a Housing Authority board meeting in Centennial Hall. The decision comes at a tumultuous time for the Housing Authority, which is searching for a permanent funding source, considering a tax-related ballot issue in November, undertaking an affordable housing project on Elk River Road and managing its recently purchased Fish Creek Mobile Home Park. Questions also remain about the Housing Authority's role in relation to city housing projects and the Steamboat Springs City Council, a topic that has fueled discussion at recent meetings between the two groups.

Black's resignation is effective July 15.

"It certainly leaves the Housing Authority in a flux," said Curtis Church, project manager for the Housing Authority. "Where it goes from here, I'm not sure."

Mary Alice Page-Allen, president of the Housing Authority's board of directors, said she was surprised to hear Black's announcement Thursday. But she said firmly that Housing Authority projects "will not miss a beat."

"I think there will be a level of continuity regardless of the changing of the guard," Page-Allen said. "Curtis (Church) is very capable as far as project management goes, and we have some very capable board members. All of us will pitch in to get it done. : We will in very short order be advertising and searching for a new executive director."

Black has served as the Hous-ing Authority's executive director since March 2005. During her tenure, she spearheaded development of the 30-unit Fox Creek Village on Hilltop Parkway along with initial planning for the Elk River Village project on Routt County Road 129.

In March 2006, Black began teaching monthly Homebuyer Education classes that have enabled about 175 local residents to qualify for down payment assistance.

"My favorite part of the job has been teaching people how to be responsible homeowners," Black said Friday. "I am very proud of connecting with the clients we have had - I love all my clients."

Black's final homebuyer class is scheduled for July 14.

"I don't really know what will happen after that," Black said about her future. "I have a lot of good ideas, but no firm plans."

Black said she is staying in the Yampa Valley and hopes to continue working in housing and local government issues in some capacity.

Page-Allen acknowledged that "there's going to be some gaps" in the Housing Authority's community outreach and programs following Black's absence.

"I think it pushes the Housing Authority's evolution back," City Council President Susan Dellin-ger said about Black's departure. "It's a tough time right now for the Housing Authority. We've got to get their feet under them."

Comments

spukomy 6 years, 10 months ago

Why is she leaving? I guess the reporter forgot to ask.

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trollunderthebridge 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe to join her husband at his job at Storm Mountain Preserve? Easy to tell people how and where to live when you do not have to live by example. Maybe the Housing Authority employees should be required to live in Routt County, earn the wage of an affordable housing candidate and live-in and own an affordable housing unit.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 10 months ago

great idea but will never happen this is why they don't understand what they are dealing with and never will

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another_local 6 years, 10 months ago

I am no fan of subsidised housing, but it is pretty impressive what the authority has accomplished with very thin resources. No help from city that is for sure. Empty words from Susan D until she advocates transferring housing money from the city to the authority.

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Gadfly 6 years, 10 months ago

Affordable housing for working people is not Socialism; it's just good business. One out of every three people who live in Moffat County works in Routt County -- most of them in Steamboat. If you own a business in Steamboat, it's hard finding workers who are willing to make a 2-hour-per-day commute. Making it possible for them to live closer is simply better all around. The housing units built through the Housing Authority are not charity; they were bought and are being paid for by the people who are living in them. In exchange for helping with cost and down payment, the Authority gets to keep those units permanently affordable. This City Council could have done much more, by giving the Housing Authority the windfall fees generated by a couple of big downtown developments, but the Council members who are running for re-election want to dole out the money themselves in exchange for votes in November. I'm not surprised that Elizabeth felt that she was peddling as fast as she could without getting anywhere.

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spukomy 6 years, 10 months ago

Sbvor, I understand some of what you are saying. The part I don't get is that buying into Affordable Housing is a step backwards. I've got a buddy who will eventually buy land and a house in the 700 area that is slated to be developed. He will do this with the help of the YVHA. Since his plan includes staying in the 'Boat forever, how will getting assistance from the YVHA hurt him. Your claim that he will "pay more for a home and pay more for taxes" by doing this doesn't seem to ring true. Show me the light on this one.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 10 months ago

sbvor, I understand ALL of what you are saying, keep up the good work...............

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spukomy 6 years, 10 months ago

Sbvor, I've seen that Aspen article before. It's a prime example of why I'm torn about how I feel about the YVHA. On one side, if Aspen had a program like ours they might not have such a struggle with worker housing issues. Now it's way too late. The other side is obviously your stance. Some towns are close to, or already are "built out". Dillon is 6 years away from this point. And when that happens all values double. In a town where only 3% of residances are rentals, they may start to feel a pinch soon.

Luckily Steamboat isn't facing a built out problem. Yet. And I agree with your assessment of increasing incentives for builing houses thereby creating containment of pricing. Unfortunately the bar is simply too high already for most who didn't buy a home 5 years ago. $250,000 for a one bedroom condo. $500K for a teardown home in Old Town.

So I can't blame people for using the YVHA if they can.  And back to my buddy.  As much as he may "pay more than he otherwise would if we increased incentives",  there is no increasing of incentives so this is more him playing the hand he's dealt.  It also wouldn't be his first home purchase, but his third.  The 1st and present were Mobile.  And I'm pretty sure it'll be his last.  There won't be any children either.  So where was the downside again?
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