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Aspen housing authority considers increasing income limits for deed-restricted units

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority meets on Wednesday to discuss increasing income limits for category deed-restricted units.
Carolyn Sackariason/The Aspen Times

The board of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority is considering increasing income category limits as officials are seeing a trend in people receiving raises and then find themselves making too much money and no longer qualifying for the unit they live in.

Board members kicked around the upsides and downsides of adjusting the area median income by 10% across all five income categories in rental and ownership units.

AMI is the midpoint of a region’s income distribution, meaning that half of households in a region earn more than the median and half earn less than the median, according to APCHA Deputy Director Bethany Spitz.



If APCHA were to use the average of Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties that figure would be $104,666. However, APCHA believes the AMI from Pitkin County, $108,000, is the correct number to use to base the income and asset categories, according to Spitz.

Typically, AMI for each county is published annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which uses data from the U.S. Census, America Community Survey and the consumer price index to update incomes and adjust for family size, and for areas that have unusually high or low income-to-housing-cost relationships.




Spitz told the APCHA board on Wednesday during its monthly meeting that HUD has not updated its AMI numbers since 2019.

APCHA believes a one-time, 10% increased adjustment across the board would be appropriate.

“It will cover the majority of what we are seeing,” Spitz said.

Board members voiced their concerns that increases would create inequities and prevent some people from bidding on sale units. For example, category one units would change to 60% of AMI, along with 95% of AMI for category two units, 140% of AMI for category three units, 215% of AMI for category four units, and 250% of AMI for category five units.

They spitballed ideas, like increasing the percentage of AMI in certain categories, particularly the lower ones where the current income limits for a one-person household range from $38,700 to $65,750 in category one and two units with the percentage of AMI at 50% and 85%, respectively. The income limit for a one-person household in a category three unit is $100,600 and 130% of AMI.

“I think it’s worth giving staff direction to play around with some of these numbers and take a look at it,” said APCHA board member and Aspen City Councilwoman Rachel Richards.

Spitz said APCHA staff can research different scenarios and how they affect people in certain categories and bring back other proposals to the board.

The board earlier this year attempted to address the trend of many people in the agency’s inventory of 1,360 rental units who were facing eviction after receiving raises or bonuses as employers upped the ante during a workforce shortage.

The board voted to change the agency’s regulations to increase the exception to income for current tenants from 120% to 150% when they re-qualify.

The proposal to adjust 10% of AMI across all categories was to address the same conundrum people are experiencing in ownership units, of which there are 1,655 in the inventory.

csackariason@aspentimes.com

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