Faces without places

Panel uses scenarios to look at economic realities of affordable housing


If you go

What: Next forum in affordable housing series, "Maintaining affordability: Will your kids be able to live here?"

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

May 30

Where: Rex's American Grill & Bar, 3190 S. Lincoln Ave.

Cost: $15

Call: Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, 875-7000

— A panel of local officials tried Friday to add a human aspect to the affordable housing discussion.

Economist Scott Ford provided examples for the second forum in the affordable housing series put on by the Chamber Economic Development Council, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. and the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors. The examples, he told the packed house at Rex's American Grill & Bar, were not real people.

But they could be.

"Oftentimes, when we talk work force, it becomes somewhat invisible," Ford said. "The names are made up, but this puts a face to it."

The forum focused on the economic realities of housing Steamboat's work force. Ford offered three scenarios: a single woman making $47,240 a year, a couple making $66,800 a year and hoping to start a family, and a couple with three children making $100,000 a year.

Options were scarce. Michael Hurley, a developer with ARIA Property International, looked up listings in Steamboat Springs as Ford talked about his characters' needs. The single woman and the couple might be able to find something. Steamboat offered zero homes that matched the needs of the couple with three children.

"The cheapest single-family house listed in Steamboat is $499,000," Hurley said. The second cheapest was $599,000.

After looking at those figures, the panel presented more numbers, this time from a developer's perspective. Hurley went through the costs of building affordable housing.

He looked at a residential project the Yampa Valley Housing Authority is working on in west Steamboat. If half the units are priced for a family of four that makes 80 percent of the area median income, the project will bring a return on costs of about 6 percent, Hurley said.

Most developers and the banks that lend to them would consider that an unacceptable risk, he said. An increase in costs or other issues could wipe out that return, Hurley said.

Even when a developer designates 15 percent of the units as affordable, the return on costs comes out to less than 15 percent, Hurley said. Developers might look at a 20 percent return on costs as sufficient to hedge risks and make a profit.

"We try to maintain a minimum hurdle rate so if we can make this, great," he said. "And so if we have a few stuff-ups, we don't go broke."

The final part of the panel, which Jane Blackstone of The Atira Group moderated, featured statistics from Noreen Moore, business resource director of the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative.

Moore's message: People want to live and work in Steamboat, but they can't afford it.

"It's not about affordable housing," Moore said. "It's about housing."

Conveying that idea to the community is crucial, she said. Developers can't bear the full burden for affordable housing, Hurley said.

"If everybody was really listening, affordable housing has to come from subsidies," Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "Is everyone in this room ready to spend money to subsidize affordable housing? If not, we're going to lose our community."

Housing needs also were on the agenda last week for the Housing Authority. The agency met with businesses and other entities Thursday to discuss its housing market demand analysis. Robert Charles Lesser & Co. will conduct the study, which will include analyses of the housing supply, demographics and the economy.

The company also will survey employers and employees and hold forums. The goal, Housing Authority Executive Director Donna Howell said, is to collect data that will guide city and county policies as well as developers' residential construction.

Area employers, Steamboat Springs, Routt County, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and others are funding the study, which is expected to cost from $120,000 to $146,000, Howell said.

The Housing Authority expects a report on those results in August.


dave reynolds 8 years, 4 months ago

white trash thats nice knownothing ..some of the so called white trash provide services that you all high and mighty take for granted.get over yourself


id04sp 8 years, 4 months ago

The term "white trash" really only applies when there is thievery, illegitimacy, boozery, druggery, buggery, incest or other notorious behavior that would call one's morals into question.

Poor and honest is a different matter.


OnTheBusGus 8 years, 5 months ago

Once again, we don't NEED affordable places to buy, just affordable places to rent. Like JustAsking (sbvor? hmm..) stated, people are not entitled to own and maybe some don't want to own. Maybe some own elsewhere and want to come spend a year or two (or ten) in Steamboat and then move on. The workforce just needs an affordable place to live.


JustAsking 8 years, 5 months ago

Subsidize is a surprise? Socialist housing always has to be subsidized! When will anybody pushing this adgenda look at REAL cases and the real numbers?

JUst who are real people that the socialists want to house in the mountain area or downtown? SHOW US THE NUMBERS!

Did anybody notice that land is the major component of construction costs? It doesn't take a Phd to understand that land close to the mountain is more expensive. Restricting supply results in higher prices.

After all the studies will the council and all those employed to address "affordable housing" in Steamboat finally admit that the solution is to GET OUT OF THE WAY?

Here's the reality:

Market rate apartments and rentals are where a LOT, usually a majority, of people live in other communities.

People are NOT entitled to own a residence.

Higher density projects built by PRIVATE enterprise farther from the mountain and town are the only real solution.

Government can be successfully involved only by being less restrictive and providing roads, transportation, and security.

Can the champions of socialist housing show us ANY example where deed restricted housing policies have been successful in any numbers over the long term? NO! Why? Simple. It DOSEN'T WORK!


bloggyblog 8 years, 5 months ago

blog thinks another consulting study is a big waste of money($120,000. to be exact). at this point in the game,nancy stahoviak is correct. subsidies to developers are the only viable solution, but thats never going to happen. let's face it, the nature of steamboat has changed and these token attempts at addressing the problem aren't going to bear any fruit. say adios to the real working class in steamboat. p.s. welcome back sbvor!


colowoodsman 8 years, 4 months ago

H_P, Who said anything about "getting rid of tourists"??? What we need is balance. It may be a shock to you but tourism jobs are on the low end of the pay scale and there are many other ways for locals to get work if housing were not so UNAFFORDABLE! Government promoted tourism is upsetting the balance we need for a healthy, diversified economy. If tourism is such a great thing why does it need so much help from the City? Why can't tourism stand on it's own?


JustAsking 8 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately gang SBVOR is not back in the form of JustAsking, but we do have something in common. We both recognize socialist stupidity!

Frankly, I miss someone with a point of view that is not goose stepping behind urban myths.

NOTE TO PILOT: "RESTORE" sbvor. What part of the facts presented were so offensive that you axed sbvor's access?

Could it be the numerous links to FACTS to back up the positions presented? Or is it that opinions and views that are not shared by the pilot staff need to be censored.

So much for supporting the idea of a "FREE PRESS!"


424now 8 years, 5 months ago

I can see it now, another 60 posts going back and forth over affordable housing.

Here is a subsidy solution for you.

Let the City put the services in and let the developer build 3bd/3ba 2carG houses on 1/4 acre lots. Say about 100 of those 700 acres will do the trick. That's approximately 400 of those shot gun houses. 400 hit the market at the same time in this financial climate and we could realistically be seeing $499,000.00 price tags.

I could buy that.


SilverSpoon 8 years, 5 months ago

I think donna howell should pay herself to do the study. With her residual superintendant income due to end in another year, the $120,000 on the table should be enough to keep her steamboat dream alive. She should be able to come up with something intelligent with all her free time like: Steamboat's market is flooding with new residences. Everyone is trying to cash out their old homes. The US economy is tanking. Forclosures are bound to reach steamboat when homes stop selling. At $6.00/gallon, or $1000/plane ticket, steamboat will be the "destination" that no one will be able to afford to fly or drive to.


ColoradoNative 8 years, 5 months ago

"If everybody was really listening, affordable housing has to come from subsidies," Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. "Is everyone in this room ready to spend money to subsidize affordable housing? If not, we're going to lose our community."

You just have to love the mentality of government. They think they can fix everything. The more government gets involved with things the more screwed up it gets.

I'm with Gus. Build some damn apartments. If the city wants to get involved kick up some density on some land and build some market rate apartments.


justathought 8 years, 5 months ago

You want affordable housing, take all the fees and taxes off of building homes and charge the builders, realtor's, and lenders a windfall profit tax, if it is supposed to work for oil it ought to work for houses. Ohhh, maybe we should charge the ski industry for their "windfall profit", they make lot's of money too. Any other businesses in stmbt making more profit than the government thinks you should?


flotilla 8 years, 4 months ago

I agree with CleveDave - mostly because community is dissolving in Steamboat. The other day I overheard a 14 year old girl brag to her friends that her mom was getting diamond studded floor boards on her SUV. These people are here to make money, not make community. Some people refer to the term "new money" - that is how they act and that is what they care about. Developers, real estate agents alike make big money because that is the norm now. Cutting commissions - not happening because of greed. There are places outside Steamboat to live. But we don't want those people who don't want to live there anyways.


toboyle105 8 years, 4 months ago

Answer for Mr Knowitall: So they can play Triple Crown baseball


colowoodsman 8 years, 4 months ago

There is plenty of housing to go around - the problem is too much of it is reserved for tourists. Aa long as workers have to compete with tourists and the City continues to support the tourism industry there will be no such thing as 'affordable housing'.


Hadleyburg_Press 8 years, 4 months ago

good point colowoodsman; get rid of the tourists and most local workers won't need housing...


OnTheBusGus 8 years, 4 months ago

Another one for knowitall: So you think that the firefighters, teachers, nurses, police officers, and other Steamboat workers are poor white trash? Make sure you tell them so next time you see one!


meethinks 8 years, 4 months ago

white trash?.......I always saw it as trying to improve on the American dream.....while paying over two grand a month for a modest three bedroom rental home....that back in the good old old carpet baggin south would-of costed all 'bout 6 sor 7 hun-erd........with a much bigger yard, maybe a few old tires and several more hounds in the yard but.......... well i be gowsh darn....


id04sp 8 years, 4 months ago

No sane working couple making $67,000 a year should even consider having a child while living in Steamboat Springs.

There is no God-given right to live in a resort town. You wanna scrape by on hourly wages around here, that's your problem, not mine.

It's not my responsibility to provide housing within a mile or two or your job location. Plenty of people in this country commute 30 to 40 miles one-way every day, and so can you.

There are much better jobs and nicer places to live where they don't have a ski hill. Make your choice and SHUT UP about how hard it is to live here. Having an unrealistic set of goals and so-called "needs" is no justification for everyone else having to foot the bill for YOU to have what YOU WANT when you haven't WORKED FOR IT.

People working in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and Santa Monica and all those places generally have to commute from a less expensive area. People working in Atlanta generally live 30 miles or more from town because it's a dump inside the I-285 perimeter highway. People working in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia areas face a 3 to 4 hour daily commute round trip. that includes teachers, cops, soda jerks and plumbers helpers. They all deal with it, or they move to smaller towns with less traffic and lower-paying jobs. The fact that places like Steamboat are unique in having a high cost of housing and low-paying jobs in a small town is just a fact of life for resort towns. Live in Hayden. Live in Craig. DEAL WITH IT.

Too many people around here are like chickens nesting on a railroad track. It's a nice, sunny, level and well-drained spot to build a nest, but you're going to have to put up with the trains.


justathought 8 years, 4 months ago

For once id, I agree with you.

meethinks, no one wants to stop "trying to improve on the American dream" at least not the original one where everyone can work hard, scrimp and save to reach their dream. I object to the new "American dream" that includes the taxpayers footing the bill for your "dream". We could dress the government in tights and renamed their offices Sherwood Forest but it isn't just the rich they are stealing from, it's also those of us trying to reach our dream the old fashioned way, by working for it.


corduroy 8 years, 4 months ago

funny how this is sort of a Catch 22: local employees can't afford to live in town so we commute, but then there's increased traffic due to that.

Personally, if I could afford to move back to town (rent or buying is still way overpriced) I'd be biking or walking to work.. what we need to keep in mind is the more workforce we force financially out of Steamboat, the more cars you're going to see, until they actually plan some sort of shuttle like they've discussed. Hell a passenger rail car would rock.


dave reynolds 8 years, 4 months ago

id.thats fine but knownothings post blantly looks down on others whom arent as fortunate as he/she is..the white trash that is referred to(in my opinion) is the people who commute,work in Safeway,City market,plow the streets,work in restaurants,pick up trash, and help build the very home you live in..this is not directed at you id but knownothing has shown ignorance and a pompus attitude more than once on posting..just tring to let them know without poor white trash they might not have or recieve the services they have now


stayinbalance 8 years, 4 months ago

I would like to know where they come up with the income figures. I am a single person and don't make even close to $47,240. Hard to make that kind of money when wages are $10 - 15 an hour. Also, the affordable housing issue is much more complicated than calling us "poor white trash". Many of us have lived here for many years; by choice, for quality, not quantity of life. However, even with the advantage of years, it is becoming increasing difficult to make ends continue to meet. Yes, it is a resort. Yes, every money-hungry person is on the fast train to get here. But, Steamboat is (or was) a a real town with real people who, believe it or not, helped form this community. We have a responsibility to try to keep a few of them here.


housepoor 8 years, 4 months ago

I have many co-workers who make anywhere from 50k to 110k that choose to live it Craig because it allows them to live within their means and give their families a decent size house........now with gas at $3.50+ it might change that situation........it also might make taking the bus more attractive because at 2 a gal it was still cheaper to drive but not anymore.


meethinks 8 years, 4 months ago

golly, I guess I have to point out the obvious, most of us here work our little behinds off, it was expensive when we moved here and continues to get more so each year. So, why do we continue to try to make it here? We love it, no WE are NEVER going to be rich, but look at the community, quality of life, the views, put things in perspective. You want good schools, good neighbors and such you have to pay for it. Am I personally in favor of the govt helping me pay for my rent/mortgage? no. I work for what we have and if I want something nicer, it is called...another job! Or live elsewhere, Why dont we live elsewhere? Again, schools, winter travel...bad roads...OLD cars.....safety is something to consider as well, here in the mountains. justathought- it is called sometimes reading between the lines, I was trying a bit of fun. The American dream is a farfetched ideal that is not going to happen here for most. It is a challenge for a vast amount of locals jsut to make ends meet each month and be able to clothe and feed the kids. BUT, again, we CHOOSE to try to stay because we love it here. Just take a look out of any window on most and THAT is why. Again, if you are not willing to work as hard as most of us dom this is NOT the place for you.


424now 8 years, 4 months ago

Let me explain, no there is to much, let me sum up,

First of all "The cheapest single-family house listed in Steamboat is $499,000"

The listing is for a condo not a house. You know a shoebox with a postage stamp yard.

Knowitall-"And why should I be forced to subsidize poor white trash?"

Woodsman-"There is plenty of housing to go around - the problem is too much of it is reserved for tourists."

Id-"It's a nice, sunny, level and well-drained spot to build a nest, but you're going to have to put up with the trains."

Cord-"the more workforce we force financially out of Steamboat, the more cars you're going to see."

Paddlefisher-"knownothing has shown ignorance and a pompous attitude more than once on posting"

stayinbalance-"I am a single person and don't make even close to $47,240."

Housepoor-"Workers who make anywhere from 50k to 110k that choose to live it Craig because it allows them to live within their means"


housepoor 8 years, 4 months ago

424, Not sure what u meant by pointing out my comment????


424now 8 years, 4 months ago


As I read this thread earlier some key statements seemed to be in bold type for me.

Your comment as amended by myself for effect almost stands on it own merit as an honest assessment of the situation in the Boat.

I happen to fall dead center of that demographic. Kids are outta the house and I am looking to buy. I have dreamed about owning in the Boat. The idea of 3000.00 dollar a month mortgage keeps me up at night. None of the copied comments were meant to offend. To my mind they seemed to sum up the thread.


ybul 8 years, 4 months ago

""If not, we're going to lose our community." I am not sure but maybe, that community is already lost?

I suppose those that made the community what it is should have a say, and I believe that the charter of the city was written such that those who work here can afford to live here.

I think that many set their sights too high on what they should have. However, I do believe that in the recent past, home prices have gone through the stratosphere, and given the nature of home ownership in the town (half or more are second homes), these houses/condos are more likely to be sold than if they were a primary residence, and fewer buyers will be in the market, causing prices to decline more rapidly than in other areas. In turn returning a little affordability to the market, downturns have happened before and will happen again, most fail to remember what one is a times have been so good for so long.


drumski 8 years, 4 months ago

Here we go.........yes.......affordable housing on the mountain makes absolutely no sense. Let's charge these developers and build affordable housing west of town or the like. That being said, I work and live in town and support a family of four and somehow I don't qualify for the affordable housing at Wildhorse. Why you say? I don't make enough money! Some of you are now thinking that I'm some "white trash" ski bum that wants to live off other people's hard work. Easy Ayn Rand, I have a degree and have what most would consider a respectable job. I will have to move away within the next couple of years and I'm not alone. It will be interesting to see all of you wondering where the heart and soul of Steamboat has gone years from now, and I will vacation here and smile and say, "That's a beautiful Hummer isn't it dear."


id04sp 8 years, 4 months ago


Thanks, and you are right. Anyone who looks down on people who don't have as much as others deserves to spend a couple of months eating a bologna sandwich three times a day because their savings have been stolen or frozen, and they're washing dishes for minimum wage just to keep the mortgage paid and electricity turned on. Don't ask me how I know about it. Just take it on faith that I do.

Over all, this so-called "community" is not worth saving. Let it go to time-shares and condos, and everybody move to Craig and Clark and Oak Creek and Yampa and Phippsburg. Let the "rich" locals live close-by, in Hayden. The Ultra-Rich could build in Milner.

Black blight in the cities led to white flight. Steamboat is undergoing a period of "Green Blight," where outside money is taking away all the property. "Local Flight" to other communities is the answer, and let Ski Corp and all the national chains figure out how to run the town and get people to work for them. It makes no sense for everybody to spend so much time and energy trying to swim upstream against local costs while making local hourly-wage incomes.

I've had enough contact with out-of-touch wealthy people to know that I don't want them for my neighbors anyway. They don't want to know about anyone else's troubles, much less care, or offer to help in any meaningful way unless it's tax deductible. There's an "us and them" thing that goes on with the wealthy, and "them" are us. We're to be used and sent away when we're not needed anymore. Who needs it?


stayinbalance 8 years, 4 months ago

Drumski, I also could not qualify for the affordable housing in Wildhorse because my income is too low. I also have a degree and 3 respectable, good jobs. After living here for almost 30 years, I will also need to move if I ever want to retire and go down to maybe one job. The heart and soul of this valley is in big danger but I am still hopeful that some of it may be saved. The Vision 2030 site had some insight into this. The fees developers are paying should be used west of town for less expensive housing.


arnonep 8 years, 4 months ago

id04sp just barely grazed what I consider to be at the heart of the miss-thinking about the need for affordable housing, "No sane working couple making $67,000 a year should even consider having a child while living in Steamboat Springs." The point being, having children is not a right, it is a privilege and a responsibility. If you can not afford a house because you have kids (kid), then you should have thought about that before procreating. I have not read one article that does not try to play the poor person with multiple kids hand as a reason for subsidizing housing (drumski). If you have kids (kid) and can not afford to support them, you might be White (or preferred color) Trash. (note I used the word 'might') Another point no one wants to investigate, in the groups proposing affordable housing, is the possibility that subsidized housing could, and in my opinion does, suppress wages. As I have said before, the only affordable housing scheme that I see working is profit based deed restrictions.


80488mom 8 years, 4 months ago

I think if I had lots of money when I had my kids they might have grown up to be overindulged, spoiled rotten, self serving little brats with a misguided sense of entitlement instead of young men of character, integrity and good conscience. The best gift you can give your kids isn't a fancy house, the latest and greatest toys and things but your time and love. Building a strong emotional and spiritual foundation in your child doesn't cost a dime. I don't think you have to have a lot of money to be an good parent. In fact I think it would make it more difficult. Just my own opinion.


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