Routt GOP: Making progress on housing crisis requires good policy
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Housing has been a challenge here in the Yampa Valley since the late 1970s. Perhaps because we live in such a beautiful and desirable county, it may always be an issue.
But just because the goal seems insurmountable, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to help our community. Think of the old-fashioned barn raising where neighbors gathered to help each other build something.
There are several housing programs that align with Republican values, specifically those involving either self-help or private sector development and partnerships.
Eighteen families funded by the USDA, along with the former nonprofit Regional Affordable Living Foundation, built homes in Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Oak Creek. This group build concept is alive and well throughout the U.S.
Another “self-help” model is the internationally known Habitat for Humanity, which built 10 homes and duplexes here in Steamboat Springs from 2000 through 2010. Community volunteers pounded nails and hung drywall alongside future homeowners.
Another successful program that Routt County has utilized is the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, or LIHTC. This highly competitive program, created under the Reagan administration has recently funded the 48 unit Reserves apartments, the 72 unit Alpenglow and the 90 unit Anglers 400. By offering tax credits to the private sector via a public market, The Yampa Valley Housing Authority has partnered with a private developer to build and manage these income restricted units.
Four years ago, voters in Steamboat Springs were given the opportunity to tax themselves 1 mil for a 10-year time frame to support the Housing Authority plan, in accordance with TABOR rules. The voters overwhelmingly voted in support of this tax.
The Brown Ranch is being developed with the vision of the West Steamboat Area Plan and the new Routt County Master Plan. Housing and transportation go hand in hand as both issues need solutions.
Food and shelter are basic human needs. To ensure the people who represent the essential core of Routt County, our teachers, firefighters, other first responders, nurses and service industry employees should have the option to live in the communities where they work.
There is one candidate who has been working on these problems the better part of her professional and volunteer career scanning almost 50 years. Elect Kathi Meyer, candidate for Routt County commissioner, and she will make sure that Routt County, working collaboratively with its municipalities, continues to make progress on its housing challenges.
This column was provided by the Routt County Republican Central Committee. For more, go to RouttGOP.com.
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