County supports housing needs assessment

Study covers region from Pitkin County to Parachute

December 22, 2017

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County is supporting a regional housing needs assessment with a $10,000 grant toward the study, which covers both the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys. The assessment, which is being coordinated by the Garfield County Housing Authority (GCHA), is focused on examining the extent of housing needs in the region.

The assessment is being conducted by Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) and RRC Associates, two Front Range consulting firms, and will take roughly eight months, according to Bill Lamont, a local resident and former city planner in Boulder. EPS and RRC were chosen following a request for proposals process by GCHA.

Lamont told the Board of County Commissioners that the study will assess commute time, job locations, how much workers are paying for housing and whether or not they are sharing housing with others, and senior housing from Pitkin County through Parachute.

“We think we need to have that kind of information from everybody to really get our arms around it,” Lamont said. “We’re here to ask for Garfield County’s support in order to make this needs assessment possible.”

Lamont and local Attorney David Myler have been working to build a coalition of Roaring Fork Valley communities around the need for a regional approach to housing issues.

The Colorado Housing Finance and Authority ($25,000); Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority ($25,000); Eagle County ($15,000); Carbondale ($20,000); and Basalt ($10,000) have also pledged financial support for the needs assessment. GCHA is seeking $145,000 overall to cover costs of the study.

Commissioner Mike Samson said that he’s seen many talented residents leave Garfield County due to housing issues. He said the assessment is one tool toward solving the region’s housing needs.

“Thank you for what you are doing. I see this as a need in Garfield County,” he said. “I see this as a need, particularly as a teacher and administrator in the Garfield RE-2 School District. We continually lost good teachers because they couldn’t afford housing.”

The commissioners supported $10,000 toward the needs assessment from the nonprofit general fund, 2-1, with Commissioner John Martin in opposition.