Affordable housing lottery offers hope | SteamboatToday.com

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Affordable housing lottery offers hope

While living in West Acres trailer park, Corey Kopischke watched as his friends were chosen to move into the adjacent West End Village development.

Kopischke had signed up for Steamboat Springs’ first affordable housing project, but things didn’t work out, and he always regretted the missed opportunity to live in West End Village.

On Wednesday, he got a lucky break and a second chance to live in an affordable housing project in Steamboat.

His name was pulled 12th among the almost 300 names in the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s lottery for Fox Creek Village. The project off Hilltop Parkway is offering 30 affordable housing units, and the lottery determined who would get the first chance to purchase those units.

“I have been here almost 20 years. It is ridiculous, the housing values. It is not getting any easier,” Kopischke said.

Kopischke, who is a photographer, said he was excited about the prospect of owning a home between downtown and the mountain area that would have great views of Mount Werner and Emerald Mountain.

“From my experience, it’s the first place you get into that is the hardest. After that, it is cake. You can upgrade,” he said.

Kopischke was among the dozens of people who came to Olympian Hall on Wednesday night to see what priority they were given.

Many of those who put their names in for the Fox Creek Village project were inspired by the success of West End Village.

Tracy Delliquadri, the director of a child care facility and a single mom, said she entered her name in hopes of moving up from a mobile home she owns.

“It is hopeless to be able to afford a house, especially as a single person. If I get in one of these places, it is a good starting point for home ownership,” she said.

Like Kopischke, Delliquadri watched as her friends moved into West End Village, and she said they love it. But she never submitted her name.

“I didn’t sign up for it. I should have. In the last five years, (housing prices) just have increased dramatically,” Delliquadri said.

The number of applicants it took to fill West End Village encouraged lottery participants with high numbers. The Regional Affordable Liv–ing Foundation, the housing authority’s predecessor, went through 230 names before finding qualified residents for the 24 single-family homes and seven duplexes in West End Village.

“Don’t be despondent if you end up with a high number, because person 181 had a chance to purchase West End Village,” housing authority director Elizabeth Black told lottery participants before starting the drawing.

The housing authority will notify residents of their rankings after the Fourth of July. The list also is available online at the housing authority’s Web site, http://www.yvha.org, under the Fox Creek Village link.

People still can apply for the housing development, but they will be given a prioritization number higher than the names that have been drawn.

Black said the next step is to offer a class to go over project guidelines with the top 30 people picked in the lottery. The group then will start the loan qualification process. If someone among the top 30 does not meet the qualifications, the housing authority will contact the next person on the list until the units are filled.

The housing authority has established two price points for the two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhomes off Hilltop Parkway. All units are intended for those who live and work in Routt County.

Twenty of the homes will be targeted for those who make 80 percent or less of the area median income, and the initial sales price will be set at $175,000. Ten of the homes are intended for those who make 80 to 120 percent of the area median income, and the initial sales price will be set at $190,000.

More than 90 percent of the almost 300 people who were in the lottery make less than 80 percent of the median income. For 2005, the area median income for a family of four in Routt County has been set at $72,000.

“The community needs to support more low-income housing projects, because it is a huge need,” Delliquadri said.