Fund bolsters Summit County housing loans | SummitDaily.com

Fund bolsters Summit County housing loans

BOB BERWYN
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY ” A $30,000 boost from the Board of County Commissioners will help build a revolving down-payment assistance fund for affordable housing.

The commissioners agreed at a meeting this week to commit about 10 percent of the county’s existing affordable housing funds to the program, administered by the Summit Combined Housing Authority.

The loans are targeted to people working in Summit County and making between 100 and 160 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Currently, there are no loan programs available to people making more than 100 percent of the AMI.

“That’s where builders are building right now,” said Housing Authority director Jennifer Kermode, explaining how the loan program would help residents buy units that are coming on to the market under inclusionary zoning requirements.

The Housing Authority will seek similar funding from each of the towns, Kermode said. The new fund would replace another program that started with help of a $200,000 federal grant in 2003. That money is gone, Kermode said.

“There’s no money, but lots of demand,” Kermode said, explaining that the loan program would be structured to encourage short-term payoffs. That would help make it a true revolving fund, she explained.

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“I think the fund needs money in it so we can give people this assistance,” said County Commissioner Thomas Davidson.

The commissioners’ discussion focused mainly on how the money should be disbursed geographically, with some questions as to whether the county’s share of the funds could be used inside incorporated towns.

Some of the commissioners advocated for flexibility, saying that the towns and county need to address affordable housing as a community-wide issue.

“But there needs to be some accountability to show that the program is working in your community,” said Commissioner Tom Long. The money shouldn’t all be spent at one end of the county, Long said, specifically mentioning affordable housing projects in Breckenridge, while acknowledging the new phase of the Wellington Neighborhood (in Breckenridge) is the only project coming online right now.

The tax increase and development impact fees to fund affordable housing were intended to address a broad range of needs. At the work session, Kermode presented data to show that the need for down-payment loans exists in that income range.

Even if the loan program doesn’t address the most urgent housing needs in Summit County, it does work as part of an overall toolbox, said county manager Gary Martinez.

Commissioner Thomas Davidson said the backers of the affordable housing initiative made it clear from the beginning that the money wasn’t only for building new housing units, but would be used to fund existing housing programs, including loan programs.

A new loan program will help people who make between 100 and 160 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) make downpayments on homes.

One-person household: $55,200 – $88,320

Two-person household: $63,000 – $100,800

Three-person household: $70,900 – $113,440

Four-person household: $78,800 – $126,080