I agree with Mr. Collom’s statement from last week’s letter. The housing shortage in the Estes Park area goes way back. However, I disagree with most of the other statements.
Eric Blackhurst (Housing Authority/Courtesy photo)
In the late 1980s the community funded the first of four (1990, 1999, 2008 and 2016) Housing Needs Assessments to identify and measure the magnitude of the problem and offer potential solutions to the public and private sectors as the Town and surrounding areas continued to grow.
Here is some of what those studies showed:
1990 to 1999 units needed = 555 to 790; private and public sector built 1,502 new housing units.
1999 to 2008 units needed = 809 to 1,032; private and public sectors built 1,106 new units.
2008 to 2015 units needed = 756 to 959; private and public sectors built 214 units.
2016 to 2020 units needed = 1,480 to 1,690; private and public sectors built 234 units.
After the 2007/2008 mortgage crisis, with the exception of few private sector entities, development of moderately priced homes ended. Lack of moderately priced rental and for-sale units have driven the prices dramatically upward and caused instability in the Estes area housing market.
Since 2000, the Estes Park Housing Authority (EPHA) has acquired, renovated, built, and financed over 210 residential units in conjunction with the private sector and the Town of Estes Park. These units provide workforce (some with no income restrictions) housing for those working in our school district, hospital, town government, restaurants, hardware stores, and automotive shops to name a few, along with places to live for some of our senior population.
“Why haven’t you done more?” is the question. The simple answer is the lack of a steady source of funding. EPHA must compete with other mountain communities for available state and national funding to build, develop, acquire, renovate and maintain properties for those working in our community who wish to live here.
Voting yes on 6E provides a steady, consistent source of funds so we can deal with workforce housing and childcare issues, both of which are critical needs in the community.
Eric W. Blackhurst is the Chairman of the Estes Park Housing Authority