Some thoughts on housing
March 14, 2002
I agree with the recent Aspen Times editorial on its long view of the future of affordable housing. Hearkening to the way it was 15 years ago, rousing class warfare and long diatribes are dogma that is more harmful than helpful.
According to the recent Aspen Affordable Housing Strategic Plan, there is an existing inventory of nearly 2,000 affordable units, the city’s revenues are projected to generate $66.3 million over the next 10 years, and the estimated cost of developing six potential affordable housing sites is $190.8 million with the public subsidy roaming around $56.5 million.
Based on the above future scope of the affordable housing program, it is a “reasonable idea” to reorganize the housing authority under the umbrella of the city, since it is the city who has the fiduciary responsibility of spending the tax revenues collected for affordable housing wisely.
I would go one step further than the Aspen Times editorial and urge the city to maintain a separate housing board, made up of both city and county residents. A separate housing board will most likely not insulate the affordable housing program from “willy-nilly” political thinking, as argued in the editorial.
The accountability for affordable housing decisions will be the fact that they are now open and subject to the will of the community at the ballot box.
The real benefit of a housing board, in my mind, is its function in helping maintain the long view. One of the board’s tasks would be to monitor and evaluate the need, the mix and rate of building affordable housing to account for changes in the local economy and local employment.
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Housing board member