Officials deem housing lottery fair enough | AspenTimes.com

Officials deem housing lottery fair enough

Janet Urquhart

There’s no need to tinker with the housing lottery – the standard method of selling precious worker housing units in Aspen and Pitkin County – according to local elected officials.County commissioners and Aspen City Council members quickly squelched a proposed revamp of the lottery process to boost the odds of winning for longtime-local employees.Tenured workers already enjoy a slim advantage, but it doesn’t give them much better odds over a relative newcomer, according to Cindy Christensen, housing operations manager for the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority.Elected officials were fine with that.”I don’t really want to mess with the system right now,” Commissioner Mick Ireland said. He suggested the housing office analyze the data from multiple housing lotteries if it wants to know how longtime-local workers fare in the drawings compared with individuals with minimal local work histories.The current, weighted lottery system gives workers a minimum of five chances in a drawing; their chances increase over time and max out at nine chances with more than 20 years of work history in the county.”It’s a slight advantage,” Councilman Tim Semrau said. “There’s a reason it’s called a lottery. Everyone sort of has a chance.””I think this is a fairly balanced approach,” agreed Councilwoman Rachel Richards. “Changing it is going to make as many people unhappy as it makes happy.”The Aspen-Pitkin County housing board is scheduled to discuss the lottery when it meets today. However, there’s little point in holding that debate given the mandate from elected officials to leave the system alone, concluded housing director Maureen Dobson after last night’s discussion.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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