Grand Junction City Council discusses affordable housing

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – On Monday evening, the Grand Junction City Council held a workshop to discuss affordable housing and strategies. This is part of the ongoing housing assessment workshops.

Among the topics discussed was the shortage of affordable housing in Grand Junction. They looked at the unit income restriction. They also considered introducing more multi-family units.

“We need to use our money to encourage new housing development and renovation,” Grand Junction Mayor Chuck McDaniel said.

The city council hired Root Policy Research, a housing research firm, to guide the process.

They say the City of Grand Junction wants to increase the total affordable housing stock by 225 units over the next five years. That is an average of 45 units per year.

“Grand Junction has really reached this tipping point of housing issues where we used to be somewhere affordable and now we’re past that mark where we’re not,” said Emilee Powell, executive director of county housing resources. of Mesa. “People are really struggling to find rentals and home ownership opportunities.”

Powell went on to explain a quick fix for homeowners called down payment assistance.

“What can we do quickly with things like down payments for home ownership and then what can we do long term to build new units,” Powell said. “Because we want to do something right now but we also want to think two, three, five, ten years ahead. How to build the affordable housing stock.

The city council mentioned that it was well known that the city was facing rapidly rising housing costs. This affects both the rent and the costs of the house. The board said it was excluding a lot of people.

“We manage nearly 200 affordable rental housing units in Mesa County,” Powell said. “Our waiting list is two to three years depending on the type of unit a family needs.”

The city council also discussed how it would fund affordable housing. One idea was to use the marijuana tax, but that wouldn’t start until next year. Another idea was to use the lodging tax.

The Council has said it wants to encourage both the construction of new affordable housing and the renovation of existing buildings into affordable housing. In the shorter term, they want to encourage offering incentives to landlords and landlords to reduce fees.

“Give people fee waivers or reduce fees if they offer a certain discount or reduce their housing prices,” Mayor McDaniel said.

The city council is also considering working with other affordable housing organizations such as CMU and School District 51 to develop a strategy, as they are also considering affordable housing for teachers, professors and students. This way they can collect all the money to have the biggest impact.

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