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Board backs support letter for affordable housing study grant

DOLA funding would be used to assess housing roadblocks, opportunities in the area

June 23, 2022

Garfield County has signed a letter of support for an application by the Greater Roaring Fork Valley Housing Coalition seeking a $75,000 Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Innovative Affordable Housing Strategies grant. The coalition was formed to provide an avenue for regional cooperation in addressing the area’s affordable housing crisis.

This coalition features representatives from Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Basalt, Snowmass Village, Aspen, Pitkin and Eagle counties, and Colorado Mountain College. The planning grant program (IHOP) provides grants to local governments “to help them understand their housing needs and adopt policy and regulatory strategies to qualify for the Affordable Housing Development Incentives Grant Program,” according to DOLA’s website.

The request includes a $25,000 required match from the coalition. If awarded, the federal funds can be used toward planning efforts, including a study that looks at regional housing mitigation requirements; assesses existing policies, codes, and programs; identifies local opportunities that support affordable housing; measures the impacts of short-term rentals; inventories vacant, government-controlled locations that could be used for affordable housing; evaluates rental availability and prices, and more.

“The results of this study will provide valuable information to unincorporated Garfield County along with all of its municipalities and the region as we collectively determine future efforts to address this pressing issue,” the letter of support reads.

Garfield County Community Development Director Sheryl Bower told the board that the Town of New Castle has also submitted a letter of support for the grant application, and that representatives from the towns of Silt, New Castle, and Parachute and City of Rifle have been participating in housing coalition meetings.

The letter of support was approved, 2-1, with Commissioner John Martin dissenting.