Housing Board pushes some changes in lottery procedure | AspenTimes.com

Housing Board pushes some changes in lottery procedure

Sarah S. Chung

Hoping to prevent “heartache” and appeals resulting from any future lottery mistakes, the Housing Board decided Wednesday to change the lottery notification process in the 1999 housing guidelines.

The board agreed housing lottery winners must be verified before “official” results are posted.

In the past, lottery winners have been announced immediately as the lottery was conducted.

Under the new rules, no winners will be announced until they can be verified, which will take about 15 to 30 minutes. If there’s a discrepancy between the immediate list of winners and the verified list, both lists will be posted and the discrepancies will be explained. In addition, an explanation of the verification process will be included in each lottery bid application.

Before heated discussion last night, the new rules only proposed that an official list be posted upon verification of the winners – without revealing disqualified winners if a mistake was made during the process of drawing the winners.

But Suzy Brady, a winner in a recent, invalidated lottery, said failing to reveal disqualified winners in the event of a botched lottery would undermine trust in the process.

“I hate to say this if you don’t already know, but there is a level of mistrust out there and a perception of something secret going on while things are being verified wouldn’t help anything,” Brady said.

Also discussed, and denied by the board, were proposals from a task force on senior housing to loosen housing-qualification re-quirements for senior citizens and retired members of the community.

Six members of the task force told the board that retired people face a unique set of financial conditions and life circumstances for which the housing guidelines are too rigid.

The task force recommended defining retirement age as 55 instead of 65 and asked that volunteer service be considered as equivalent to employment. The group also wanted asset restrictions loosened and asked that parents of local employees qualify for affordable housing.

The board agreed to further consider changing the asset restrictions for seniors and rejected the rest of the requests.

Board members said they don’t want people who work, or have worked here, to compete for housing with people who either don’t already live here or who can afford to volunteer instead of holding down a job.

The new housing guidelines must be approved by the City Council and county commissioners.

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