• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Eagle County launches three new housing programs

ByElla E. Kidwell

May 26, 2022
The Eagle County Housing and Development Authority has developed six new housing assistance programs since July 2021.
Eagle County/Courtesy Photo

The Eagle County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday authorized three new housing programs, each aimed at a different strategy to help local buyers, renters and landlords during the ongoing housing crisis.

Programs are part of Eagle County’s Bold Housing Moves initiative, which launched in July 2021 and allocated $10 million in county funds to expand existing housing assistance programs and develop new ones. The Eagle County Housing and Development Authority has developed six new programs since July, which join three existing programs for a total of nine.

Housing authority members also provided updates on the performance of other active programs and outlined plans to achieve the overall target of impacting 400 existing housing units by December 2023 .

The three new programs that were approved and launched this week are the Locals First program, the Aid for Accessory Dwelling Unit program and the Rent Local program. All programs that received authorization on Tuesday are now active and accepting applications. Each program has a single point of contact to start the process, and interested participants can find more information and resources at HousingEagleCounty.com.

Locals First Program

The Locals First program allows the housing authority to be a cash buyer for properties on the open market, buying homes for up to $850,000 to resell to local buyers. With an identified buyer, the county will make the purchase and hold the home for up to 90 days, until it is sold to the new owner. Upon resale, the county will impose a capped deed restriction on the price of the property, which will ensure that it remains an affordable option for local buyers in the future.

With a revolving budget of $3 million, the goal is to serve 20 homeowners and buyers by the end of 2023. Valley Home Store broker Meghan Scallen said the county’s ability to make a cash offer on behalf of local buyers will help them compete in an increasingly cutthroat open market.

“There’s been so much frustration with people from out of state coming in with these big cash offers and pushing locals out of the market, so with that response they really felt heard that we’re offering solutions that benefit them and help them get them into homes,” Scallen said.

Patty Lierman, an associate broker who runs deed-restricted resale programs, noted that the list of deed-restricted home buyers has skyrocketed, with the Miller Ranch affordable housing neighborhood in Edwards registering as many as 34 applications for a single property. The Locals First program creates a way for the county to expand options for locals who want to become homeowners.

The Miller Ranch Affordable Housing neighborhood in Edwards receives up to 34 applications for a single property.
Eagle County/Courtesy Photo

“Our list of buyers at Miller Ranch is as big as we’ve ever seen – it’s in the hundreds,” Lierman said. “Knowing what we see, in terms of the volume of requests and offers on a restricted property, we know what happens when a single family home becomes available. They have made offers, and they are very frustrated, and we saw binge eating.

The Locals First program already has a waiting list, and the number of people served will depend on how often the homes can be resold and the money put back into the fund. For more information or to register for the program, contact [email protected].

Accessory Housing Assistance Program

The Housing Assistance Program will provide existing homeowners with low- or interest-free loans of up to $100,000 to finance the construction or completion of a secondary suite, such as a self-contained apartment or cottage, on their property. Upon completion, the unit will be subject to a rental cap of no more than 100% of average median income and must be rented to a full-time local worker in Eagle County.

The loans will be interest-free for the first 36 months and will bear an interest rate of 2% thereafter, in the hope that this will encourage participants to repay their loans more quickly and get money back into the budget of the $300,000 program.

Once the loan is paid in full, landlords are allowed to use the secondary suite as they wish without rental restrictions, but the county hopes many will choose to continue to support the workforce housing market.

The housing authority aims to have around 12 homeowners participating by the end of 2023, and Scallen said there are already nine people who have expressed interest in the scheme.

“I would say out of those nine, there are three who would start today, given the chance,” Scallen said.

To learn more about the Home Assistance Program, contact [email protected].

Local Rental Program

The third program launched on Tuesday is a program designed to incentivize landlords to switch from short-term to long-term rentals. Depending on unit size and lease length, landlords can earn a cash allowance of up to $800 per month if they choose to move into the long-term rental pool, guaranteeing rental leases. one to two years for local residents.

“It’s something we’ve learned from other ski areas and are taking and making our own,” said Daniel Murray, county housing portfolio manager. “The underlying theory is that the driver of short-term rental is the financial gain you get from renting short-term versus long-term, which will induce landlords to change.”

Landlords can rent up to 100% of average median income and will receive a financial allowance in addition to rental income. Participating properties will be subject to inspections to determine if the accommodation is decent, safe and sanitary.

Half of the total incentive is paid upfront and the other half is paid at the end of the lease term. With a program budget of $300,000, the goal is to serve 38 properties by the end of 2023.

To learn more about the Rent Local program, contact [email protected].

Innovative approaches

As the commissioners approved each program, they emphasized that all Bold Housing Moves initiatives are exactly that: bold. Ideas are experimental in nature and will be adjusted based on level of interest and impact over the next year and a half.

“If someone did that, we would just copy them – it wouldn’t be a bold move,” Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney said. “These are new and innovative, and we may see them as a pilot project, but we will fail and we will learn. We will reinvest or invest more in the programs that work, and we will change the ones that don’t.

Notably, the programs aim to impact 400 existing structures instead of expanding the construction of new affordable housing structures.

“For me, what’s most exciting is that it’s really a completely different approach than thinking we have to build subsidized housing and we have to build a land bank,” Commissioner Kathy Chandler said. -Henry. “Those two things are so expensive, and they represent a very heavy government intervention in your housing life. These are more about helping individuals and families find their own home and supporting it in a way that seems to work with our free market here.

To learn more about the full list of Bold Housing Moves programs, visit HousingEagleCounty.com/bold-housing-moves.