by Carolina King
The Ouray County Housing Advisory Committee met on Jan. 17 to discuss city and town efforts to address affordable housing and to review white paper funding sources that committee member Don Batchelder has been working on since the group presented their five-year strategic plan to county, city and town officials in November.
The committee discussed ways it could support the City of Ouray in its efforts to address affordable housing and agreed to sign a letter of support and offer of assistance to the city.
Committee member Andrea Sokolowski said Chris Hawkins, city development director, “nailed it with his examples” when he presented information to the City Steering Committee the week before on what other communities have done to tackle the issue of affordable housing.
“I think where we are is the nuts and bolts of how do we get some affordable housing in when you have tiny homes selling in Ridgway for almost $400,000. That’s not affordable for the people who work here and live here,” committee member Shirley Diaz said.
The group then discussed how to get that done without the political will for a housing authority or other type of housing entity.
“Ridgway has momentum in what they are doing, but they’re not feeling like they need a housing entity to help them get that done. Ouray has other priorities, as well,” Diaz said.
Regarding work the committee did to develop a five-year plan toward the goal of affordable housing, “I feel like our time wasn’t wasted or anything, but I feel like we’re really limited in what we can do moving forward,” Diaz stated. “On a political side, you are not going to get a housing authority, so I would personally rather focus attention on what can be done.”
The committee discussed the potential of achieving more affordable housing by enticing investors to see it as an investment opportunity.