YVHA prepares for worst

Housing Authority has 'exit plan' in report to city, county

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Agenda

1. Housing Authority

- Annual report presentation.

- Presentation and discussion of YVHA strategic plan.

2. Steamboat 700 annexation discussion.

- Earmarking property tax for specific projects.

- Identify the portion of the Building Use Tax that will be donated.

- General discussion/comments.

3. Topics for next joint meeting (possible date: 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Commissioners' Hearing Room).

- Update on Regional Economic Strategic Plan & future of Routt County Economic Development Cooperative.

- Presentation on and discussion of regional water issues.

If you go

What: Joint meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners to discuss the Yampa Valley Housing Authority's report and strategic plan, and Steamboat 700 annexation.

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall on 10th Street

— Yampa Valley Housing Authority officials are considering the possibility of dissolving the organization and have included an "exit plan" in the group's three- to five-year outlook.

The authority's strategic plan describes a "fall back option to dissolve the YVHA and shift responsibilities" to other organizations, mainly the city of Steamboat Springs, should the organization fold.

Until that time, the plan calls for the organization to continue in "survival mode" for the next six to nine months. The organization's staff was laid off in late 2008. The pared-down Yampa Valley Housing Authority will report on the curtailed activities of the affordable housing group and the strategic plan at a joint meeting of the Routt County Board of Commissioners and Steamboat Springs City Council at 5 p.m. today at Centennial Hall on 10th Street.

The strategic plan outlines how the YVHA can operate in survival mode, continue down payment assistance, create affordable homes with groups including Habitat for Humanity, and retain and develop land.

"The 2010 to 2012 timeframe calls for aggressive implementation and action by the YVHA," the plan states, including implementing down payment assistance for a minimum of 12 to 15 families annually, and the development, construction and rental of 48 multi-family housing units and 13 for-sale single-family lots for income-qualified families on the Elk River Village property at U.S. Highway 40 and Routt County Road 129.

If the organization is unable to meet its goals, or if the lawmakers decide to further cut the program, the YVHA Board of Directors noted that there should be a fallback plan.

The exit plan "is not consistent with the YVHA's stated mission but does serve the purpose of analyzing various options should the YVHA Intergovernmental Agreement be dissolved."

The activities report, which is required at least once a year, will update the officials on YVHA projects since the entire Housing Authority staff was laid off at the end of 2008. Former YVHA Board of Directors President Mary Alice Page-Allen took over in January, and "the ensuing eight months have been a period of transition and re-focus for the YVHA," the report states.

Although many of the activities of the authority have either been cut back or quashed, the group did hire former volunteer Mark O'Reilly as a quarter-time housing specialist.

As part of the meeting with the joint group, the YVHA also will present its strategic plan for the next three to five years, which calls for a "limited services model/survival mode" for the next six to nine months.

Comments

Paul Hughes 5 years ago

This is a real shame. When the City, under the previous all-about-me council, set up its own housing office, the handwriting was on the wall for the YVHA. The City's housing efforts will always be linked to its attitude toward development, whatever that attitude might be at the time. On the other hand, YVHA could set aside the politics du jour and focus on housing of all types. Too bad.

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Steve Lewis 5 years ago

Beg to differ Paul.

The current plight of YVHA is entirely attributable to the combination of their expensive purchase of the Elk River Road parcel, and this turn in the economy.

Unfortunate, but a fact.

Interesting Paul, if the City had partnered in the Elk River Road parcel purchase, we both know there would be no mercy for the City.

It is a shame, this schism between the City and the YVHA. From my perspective, and as I have have said to YVHA, I believe it started when one goup shunned regulatory housing mitigations, while the other was seeking them.

Let's be realistic. The SB700 affordable housing program is about to make the City into one of our largest developers - with 12.5 acres and .5% VRETF, the City will build 400 units in 20 years.

The City staffing a position to handle that responsibility and be accountable to build and sell those units makes complete sense to me.

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Fred Duckels 5 years ago

The Elk River Road parcel falls in the same category as the Iron Horse Inn deal. This property was not properly filled and will require expensive remediation, others passed on this one but our Affordable Housing jumped at the opportunity. I think the IH may have been a similar situation. Let's leave the wheeling and dealing to those spending their own money.

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Scott Wedel 5 years ago

It would have been a far less of a disaster if City had partnered with YVHA on the Elk River purchase instead of buying the Iron Horse.

Nor does it make any sense for the City to justify hiring someone in anticipation of SB 700 giving land and transfer tax to the City. How many years will that person be employed before handling anything related to that? And the City completely failed to manage the Iron Horse contract and allowed Mountain Resorts to walk away from a contract worth $400K a year to the City.

The City's incompetence regarding real estate has been so thorough that they cannot claim having a good reason for doing anything.

YVHA appears to be more in a cash flow crisis. They need to start construction on the Elk River property. If the City were to guarantee a loan for the construction then YVHA would probably be fine.

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