Gillen: Lot of talk about APCHA |

Gillen: Lot of talk about APCHA

Matthew Gillen
Matthew Gillen, executive director of the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority
Matthew Gillen

Everyone in Aspen loves talking about ACPHA! But what are they talking about?

For 40 years, APCHA has provided affordable rental and ownership housing to workers (and some retired workers) in Aspen and Pitkin County. Funded by the City of Aspen and Pitkin County, APCHA gives people from all walks of life an opportunity to live, work and contribute to the Aspen community, and drive our year-round economy. There are over 1,600 privately owned homes under the APCHA umbrella and over 1,300 rental units.

Rents are kept equitable as they are based on a percentage of Area Median Income as assessed by the federal government. APCHA ownership homes are privately owned — not owned by APCHA. APCHA qualifies would-be owners through a formula that evaluates the buyer’s financial situation, matches them with the appropriately priced home, and then gives ownership opportunities via a lottery.

The home’s value then appreciates by a maximum of 3% per year, setting the home’s maximum resale price, thus keeping APCHA home prices reasonable for the community.

Requirements Are Simple

There are only three main requirements to live in APCHA housing as an owner or renter: 1. You must work 1,500 hours (at least nine months) per year in Pitkin County 2. Your APCHA unit needs to be your primary residence (you must actually live in it and can’t sub-lease!) 3. You can’t own another (developed) property in the ownership exclusion zone from Aspen to Rifle.

That means you cannot work remotely for a company that’s outside Pitkin County. Also, you’ll note that the only restriction on investments for owners is that you cannot own another property in the exclusion zone.

Responsive and Fair Compliance

APCHA has a robust compliance program to enforce the rules, but first we work with people to get them into compliance. When that doesn’t work or compliance violation is persistent, a neutral (non-APCHA) hearing officer adjudicates the case in a session that is open to the public.

But as a public good funded by taxpayer money, APCHA compliance is everybody’s responsibility. Anyone can report issues or register a concern anonymously through the APCHA website.

Available And Transparent

The APCHA Board, the body that makes policy, is accountable to the community. The Board is comprised of two Aspen City Council members, two Pitkin County commissioners, and three public representatives.

The elected officials on the board represent the voters, and the public representatives add another level of input. The board meetings — on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m. in the Pitkin County building — are open to the public and broadcast live on GrassRoots TV.

We reserve space for comments from the public at the start of every meeting, so if you would like to know what’s happening at APCHA or have a comment, we’d love to see you!

Email questions or comments to Matthew Gillen, executive director of the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA), at