Seniors scramble to fill their own affordable housing |

Seniors scramble to fill their own affordable housing

Aspen-area senior citizens are making an 11th-hour effort to fill a new affordable housing project before remaining apartments are offered to qualified applicants of any age.

Seniors currently have the exclusive right to apply for the 40 apartments in the Aspen Country Inn west of town. The city of Aspen bought the old inn, formerly known as the Pomegranate, and the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority is overseeing its refurbishing.

The apartments are supposed to be ready for occupancy by Sept. 1. If there aren’t enough senior citizens who apply for the units during the last half of August, the units will be offered to anyone on the Housing Authority’s waiting list, according to administrative assistant Marty Suit.

She said it appears doubtful seniors will fill the building. “I don’t think we’ll get 40, no,” she said.

Between 10 and 15 people have either qualified or are having applications reviewed for eligibility for the project. Federal tax credits are being used to help build the project, so applicants must meet federal Housing and Urban Development income guidelines and other criteria.

Senior advocate Jeanne Roth said she is aware of a handful of additional seniors who are trying to decide whether to give up current housing arrangements to live at Aspen Country Inn.

She belongs to a committee that’s trying to make sure all seniors hear about the project and get a chance to apply. Tours of the apartment building are being offered every week.

“I’m getting a lot of people to look at it, then they get excited,” Roth said.

Flyers touting the project were given to each of Aspen’s churches this week. Roth hopes ministers spread the word to seniors from the pulpit.

Suit said she’s aware of some seniors’ concerns about sharing the housing project with younger people. However, she’s confident other residents can be found who would be compatible with the seniors.

Senior citizens interested in learning more about the project can call Jeanne Roth at 925-6066 or Ramona Markalunas at 925-3399.

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