Aspen’s affordable housing owners to be surveyed on ‘right sizing’ |

Aspen’s affordable housing owners to be surveyed on ‘right sizing’

The roughly 1,600 homeowners in Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority inventory will be asked what it will take for them to move to smaller units

Each homeowner in the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority will be sent a survey this month that gauges their interest in participating in a voluntary right-sizing program in which they would move to smaller units.

The APCHA board on Wednesday tweaked the language on the eight or so questions and after final review, the survey will be sent out to the roughly 1,600 owner-occupied units in the inventory.

“What I am bringing back is a revised survey based on the discussion that the board provided at the last meeting and the introduction at the top … and I think it explains that the more people we have answer these questions, the better for us, so that gives us some direction of where we should be taking the policy on this,” said Cindy Christensen, deputy director of the agency.

Assistant City Manager Diane Foster said the introduction on the top of the survey is to assume that no one is familiar with what APCHA is attempting to do, despite that it’s been a topic at the board level for months.

“This is the first communication, so for some people they may not have seen mention in the paper of this, or it may be the first they are seeing of it,” she said. “You all talked about it as voluntary and you passed a resolution wanting to honor that, and we are bending over a little more backwards to make that clear.”

This isn’t the first time homeowners have been surveyed on the topic, but it’s been about 15 years since APCHA last checked in.

At that time, about 900 homeowners in the APCHA inventory were surveyed to gauge their interest in participating in what was called a trade-down program.

With 200 people responding, 20% of them were interested in receiving incentives for moving to smaller units.

Those incentives included no prequalification requirements, money and amenities like extra storage, garage or carport parking, specific locations and allowing pets in units.

The current survey asks similar questions and what incentives people would consider for moving.

The goal of right sizing is to fill unused bedrooms to fully utilize the inventory, since the intent of the taxpayer-subsidized housing program that was established more than 40 years ago is to provide affordable places to live for people who work in Pitkin County and contribute to the local economy and the community.

Christensen said she hopes to get the survey’s finalized version ready to send within two weeks.

“We do want to get this out as soon as possible,” she said.