2018 Navigator Awards: Young Professional of the Year Jason Peasley tackles affordable housing
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Jason Peasley is a young professional who is excelling at a job that seasoned executives would find daunting.
Steamboat Springs has been trying to come up with a solution to the affordable housing crisis for decades, and many say the 35-year-old Navigator Award winner for Young Professional of the Year has accomplished a lot to move the needle on that issue in a short period of time.
“It feels like we’re finally getting some momentum toward solutions, and I feel that Jason has been a key component of that,” said Cole Hewitt, Yampa Valley Bank vice president who serves on the Housing Authority board.
Peasley has a degree from Michigan State University in urban and regional planning. He worked for five years in the city of Steamboat Springs’ planning department before joining the Housing Authority in 2012 as executive director.
The organization has a goal of building 350 affordable units, 350 seasonal beds and 150 entry-level units.
Peasley said he has a natural drive to do new and, sometimes, uncomfortable things.
“I generally describe it as a stretch goal,” Peasley said.
He said he has changed both professionally and personally since he came to Steamboat 11 years ago in his early 20s.
“Now, I spend all my evenings with my daughters and my wife,” Peasley said.
In addition to managing the Housing Authority’s existing communities, Peasley spearheaded efforts to take advantage of creative financing and tax credits that made the building of The Reserves of Steamboat Springs possible.
“It was a learning experience for everybody, but Jason being the executive director was the one to teach us that process,” Hewitt said.
The Reserves community has 48 two- and three-bedroom apartments.
“They’ve changed the lives of so many people in this community,” said Sheila Henderson, executive director of Integrated Community, a local nonprofit that helps immigrant families.
The Housing Authority reached another milestone recently when voters approved a 1-mill property tax that will raise $900,000 annually for a decade to leverage the partnerships needed to build community housing in Steamboat.
With the help of the tax dollars, the Housing Authority has future developments in the works.
The Navigator Awards, which are presented by the Steamboat Pilot & Today and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, are celebrating their 20th year this fall.
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