RALF director resigns | SteamboatToday.com

RALF director resigns

Ellen Hoj says time is right to move on

Autumn Phillips

At the end of Thursday night’s Regional Affordable Living Foundation’s board of directors meeting, Executive Director Ellen Hoj had one last announcement to make. She is resigning.

Jim Engelken, who has been on the RALF board of directors since its inception in 1998, said the news was a surprise but not a shock.

“I know the workload has been difficult,” he said. “She has been a tireless advocate for affordable housing.

“She was instrumental in the construction of the West End Village, our community’s only affordable housing project, and Self-Help Housing was her idea, and it was her energy that made it happen. It’s a very ambitious program.”

After five years with RALF, Hoj will step down June 15 and make way for the next era of affordable housing in Routt County.

As RALF transitions into a new entity called the Yampa Valley Regional Housing Authority, Hoj saw the change as a perfect opportunity to bow out gracefully.

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“The grant for Self-Help Housing goes until Sept. 16, 2005, and there’s going to be continual construction until then with a brief period between June 15 and July 15 before 17 more houses are built,” Hoj said. “I’m tired, and this is the only window to leave without leaving anyone in the lurch.”

The Yampa Valley Regional Housing Authority will be a distinctly different organization than RALF, Hoj said.

“We were very project-oriented,” she said. “The housing authority is going to have to debate whether government regulations hinder affordable housing, what to do with trailer parks and how they will get a continual revenue stream.”

The new housing authority will begin with more than $2.5 million in assets gradually transferred to them by RALF, including money from numerous grants and cash assets from West End Village and Hillside Village Apartments.

“My goal was to get things up and running,” Hoj said. “We … got the kinks worked out. We made the money, and they will spend it.

“That program should have a pretty easy transition unless it gets too political.”

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority has been advertising for a new director, a position Hoj was not interested in pursuing, according to her resignation letter.

“The first build for Self Help is almost complete,” she wrote. “In addition, the second and third builds for Hands On Housing seems secure with land, financing and a growing list of interested participants in Hayden and Oak Creek.

“My work at RALF is almost complete.”

When Hoj walks out of her office for the last time June 15, she will be walking into the unknown.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do next,” she said. “This is scary for me.

“But I have a little powerboat at Steamboat Lake where I plan to hang out for the rest of the summer and spend time with my family.”

— To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com