Home Repair Grant Proposal Gets a Nod from APCHA

APCHA Home Repair Grants

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) Board of Directors has pushed a novel home repair grant pilot program to the next phase of approval, submitting it to the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners and the Aspen City Council in Colorado for their review and endorsement.

The proposed program is intended to aid homeowners by providing grants of up to $5,000. These funds are meant to assist in addressing and repairing critical damage to their residences. One of the notable aspects of these grants is that they are non-repayable, intended solely to provide financial assistance. This marks the commencement of the pilot program.

“Aspen boasts some of the oldest affordable housing inventories in the state. Currently, there’s a significant gap between the free-market construction sector and owners of affordable houses,” commented Liz Axberg, a housing policy analyst. She further added, “This program aims to assist homeowners in making necessary repairs, potentially also providing them with the financial capacity to opt for more eco-friendly alternatives.”

Eligibility for the program would be assessed based on category and need. In case the APCHA receives a higher number of applications than the available funding can support, a priority-based system would be introduced. This would ensure the most urgent projects receive funding first.

A unique aspect of this program is the inclusion of a matching system to finance the projects. Qualification for this matching system would depend on the owner’s current category and income level. For instance, a Category 1 homeowner with a project costing $7,000 would contribute 10% of the cost, making them eligible for the $5,000 grant. Similarly, Category 2 and 3 owners would bear 20% and 30% of the costs respectively, with the percentages rising for each subsequent category.

The memorandum indicates that an initial funding of $200,000 would be required to kickstart the program. APCHA staff are planning to appeal to the city and county for this financial aid. Given that full funding is sanctioned, the program has the potential to extend support beyond Aspen city limits and could finance $5,000 grants for up to 40 homes.

The board members have collectively expressed support for progressing the program to the city and county levels for discussion.

Kelly McNicholasKury, a commissioner, mentioned, “I think my board would be interested in seeing concrete examples of problems APCHA has encountered or calls they’ve received, to truly depict how the program is being conceived in a real-world context.”

In addition, the board members deliberated on their forthcoming retreat scheduled for July 19, where they will strategize and outline goals for the upcoming year. They expressed interest in devising a robust public communication plan and discussing capital reserves.

Ward Hauenstein and John Doyle, both newly appointed as city representatives, attended their inaugural meeting on Wednesday. Both emphasized their eagerness to learn and contribute in their new roles, with Doyle admitting that they had “big shoes to fill.”

The other board members extended a warm welcome to Hauenstein and Doyle, who will serve as the city’s voting member and alternate member, respectively. This follows the departure of Rachel Richards and Skippy Mesirow from the APCHA board last week.

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