Roger Ashton: Community-wide solution for community-wide change |

Roger Ashton: Community-wide solution for community-wide change

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority has a recipe for success.

The Reserves at Steamboat, the new low-income housing complex at the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road demonstrates a small community investment can result in big housing successes. Through a public-private partnership, YVHA leveraged a community investment of $400,000 to build this $13,000,000 community asset that provides housing for locals while pumping almost $5,500,000 into the local economy.

It's a proven model YVHA can replicate. And the model has profound investment returns, both in dollars and in family impacts. In the 48 homes at the Reserves, there are 53 children whose parents work throughout our community — in restaurants, at banks, nonprofits, salons and spas; in retail, construction, healthcare, housekeeping and lodging. They're the lifeblood of our community. The Reserves has provided a safe, comfortable and affordable home for these valued community members.

5A for HOMES provides a dedicated funding source for land acquisition, planning, design, financing, construction and administration for similar housing developments throughout the greater Steamboat area. Using public/private partnerships, these will include a mix of low-income and year-round seasonal rental units and permanently affordable rental and for-sale entry-level housing.

These housing segments were outlined in the Community Housing Steering Committee Report dated December 2016. This report was the product of more than 120 community volunteers who spent almost 2,500 hours over more than 10 months in 2016 studying and analyzing Routt County housing segments.

The report concluded that the current environment of prolonged home price and rental rate appreciation is pricing out many local wage earners from our communities. It also suggests a loss of community character and economic competitiveness unless our community takes significant action to stimulate the production of affordable housing supply to meet the current demand.

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Between 2010 and 2014, Routt County lost 12.5 percent of its middle-class households. Supporting 5A for HOMES will help maintain reasonable home prices and rental rate appreciation. This will help in the retention of our talented local workforce, our young professionals, our middle-class and the preservation of our prized community character.

5A for HOMES makes economic sense. It's a comprehensive and sustainable funding approach for new affordable housing that doesn't place the entire burden on any one sector of our community.

A residential home with a $500,000 valuation will pay approximately $36 per year in new property taxes. A commercial property with the same $500,00 valuation will pay about $145. In the first year, this will generate nearly $900,000. Roughly one-third of this will come from local homeowners; another one-third will come from local businesses and the last third will come from second homeowners. And it sunsets in 10 years.

Vote “yes” on 5A for HOMES.

Roger Ashton

Steamboat Springs

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