Last updated 4:59AM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Affordable Housing Forum Set in Archuleta County/Pagosa
(2007-03-09)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Ways to bring more affordable housing to Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs go under the microscope Monday.
Citizens, business owners, elected officials, community leaders and affording housing groups have been invited to a forum to explore creating a regional housing authority.
KSUT's Victor Locke explains.

LOPEZ: THE ISSUES THAT ARE FACING LAPLATA COUNTY ARE HAPPENING IN THE WHOLE FOUR CORNERS AREA.
Jennifer Lopez is Director of the LaPlata Regional Housing Authority.
LOPEZ: YOU KNOW, WE'VE GOT TREMENDOUS GROWTH, WE'VE GOT PRESSURES WITH OIL AND GAS, AND THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THAT'S HAPPENING. PEOPLE ARE JUST WONDERING HOW DO YOU ADDRESS AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND IT'S NOT AN EASY ISSUE.
Lopez will be among those exploring affordable housing solutions in Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs, during Monday's forum.
Bill Delany is on the Board of the Archuleta County Housing Authority, which is working to provide some affordable housing.
He's one of the forum organizers.
DELANY: IT'S CRITICAL NOW, AND IT'S GETTING WORSE. WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT AFFORDABLE OVER HERE, THEY'RE TALKING IN THE LOW 200'S, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE PAY SCALE OF MANY FAMILIES HERE, EVEN IN THE LOW 200'S THAT'S BEYOND THEIR REACH.
Local government officials also recognize there's a problem.
Julie Jessen is Pagosa's Special Projects Director:
JESSEN: ON A GOVERNMENT LEVEL I THINK THERE'S MORE WE CAN DO FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
Like Durango and LaPlata County, it's the beauty of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County that's drawn many to the area.
Non-fulltime residents own more than half the homes and more than 70-percent of the vacant land.
Two years ago a California company bought dozens of low cost vacant lots, and has been reselling them.
Jessen and Delany agree, that's only made the problem worse.
JESSEN: HUGE IMPACTS. THEY BOUGHT UP ALL THE AFFORDABLE LAND PROPERTY IN PAGOSA LAKES AREA, IN DOING SO TURNED AROUND AND RESOLD THOSE PROPERTIES A COUPLE TIMES DRIVING UP PROPERTY VALUES.
DELANY: I KNOW THEY ALMOST DOUBLED IT AND IN MOST CASES THEY ALMOST TRIPLED WHAT THEY PAID FOR THE LAND.
Jessen says without a doubt, they need some sort of umbrella organization to coordinate the tools that lead to affordable housing.
JESSEN: WE DON'T HAVE AN ENTITY THAT CAN ALSO NEGOTIATE AND MANAGE, NEGOTIATE, MANAGE AND ADMINISTER THOSE REQUIREMENTS. SO A REGIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY IS ONE WAY THAT WE CAN LOOK AT MANAGING THOSE A LITTLE BIT BETTER.
Lopez says a Regional Housing Authority may or may not be right for Archuleta County.
LOPEZ: IT'S A LOT OF INTENSIVE LEGAL RESOURCES TO PUT TOGETHER A NEW GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY, WHICH IS WHAT A REGIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY IS.
Jessen and Delany say they understand a lot of work is head of them.
DELANY: EVERY JOURNEY STARTS WITH A SINGLE STEP AND THIS IS OUR FIRST STEP IN BRINGING DIFFERENT ENTITIES AND PEOPLE TOGETHER.
JESSEN: IT DEFINITELY NEEDS TO BE DRIVEN, CITIZEN DRIVEN, IF THAT'S WHAT WE NEED.
Monday's forum will take place from 1-4pm at the Pagosa Community Center. It's open to anyone.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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