Summit Combined Housing Authority seeks fund infusion
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SUMMIT COUNTY – With easy-to-get home loans a thing of the past, the Summit Combined Housing Authority is doing its best to help first-time homebuyers put down payments on “affordable” residences. The Summit Revolving Loan Program has been so popular in fact, that the authority is seeking additional funding from local entities to keep it going until its current loans have been repaid.
“It’s very popular, and we still have strong demand for it,” said Summit Combined Housing Authority director Jennifer Kermode. “It’s a program we offer that has a direct impact on people getting housing. … We’re coming into a busy time of year for real estate, and we’re seeing an increase in applications – not just for deed-restricted units, but for properties countywide.”
And with two new affordable housing developments on the horizon – Valley Brooke in Breckenridge and the Peak One Neighborhood in Frisco, Kermode said she anticipates an even bigger jump in loan applications.
Valley Brooke developers broke ground on its first 13 units April 21, and the first phase of construction is expected to be finished by February 2011. The 42-unit project will be located along Airport Road in Breckenridge. Construction on Frisco’s new affordable Peak One Neighborhood will likely start within 30 days. The deed-restricted neighborhood will be built south of Main Street on the 12.68-acre Peak One parcel, and 12 of 70 homes will be built this summer.
So far, the authority has closed 15 loans, and it has approximately $25,000 left in the fund. A new infusion of 5A moneys to the fund – about $160,000 – will enable the authority to get locals into more “affordable” units.
Kermode said officials from Frisco, Dillon and Summit County’s government have all agreed to breath new life into the loan program with 5A funds. Kermode will ask Breckenridge and Silverthorne officials for another infusion this week.
“With the Peak One Neighborhood development – as well as other affordable units – moving forward, the council was very supportive of adding an additional $40,000 to the SCHA revolving loan fund for those people interested in purchasing affordable homes in Frisco,” said Frisco’s town manager Michael Penny. “This program is very much in line with the council and community goals of providing for a family-oriented community and increasing the number of year-round residents.”
Dillon’s Mayor Ron Holland was supportive of the loan program too, saying: “We don’t have enough 5A funds to really do a project in the town of Dillon. This is our way to get the most bang for our buck – to help with the housing authority, or through a joint venture like Solorado.”
Solorado is a recently constructed affordable-housing development located behind OfficeMax – it was co-funded by the towns of Dillon and Silverthorne.
According to Kermode, the down payment assistance loan program was created in 2008 out of 5A money to help locals become homeowners.
So, what’s 5A? Due to a ballot measure in 2006, 5A funds were established through a voter-approved 0.125 percent sales tax levy and collection of impact fees on new construction. The towns and the county earn those revenues, and they have to spend it on affordable housing programs and projects within three years of earning it.
“This was a way that we could start having (the towns) spend some of those funds, because there wasn’t much else happening (with affordable housing) at the time,” Kermode said.
Collecting 5A funds from local entities right now will also allow the authority to apply for a $75,000 grant from the Colorado Association of Realtors, Housing Opportunity fund.
“We must show that we have matching funds from another source, which would be the towns and county,” Kermode said.
The Summit Combined Housing Authority is essentially offering a “second-mortgage” program for borrowers who need assistance with their down payments. And, to qualify for the loan, a family’s income level must fall within the range of 76 percent AMI to 160 percent AMI (a four-person household – $64,100 to $136,160).
“We have some people who think it’s a grant or a gift,” Kermode said. “It’s not. They have to pay it back.”
The average loan size is $9,300-$9,800, and payments to the authority are “actually very small.”
“We qualify people just like a lender does to make sure they can make the payment,” Kermode added.
Within the next few years, the Authority hopes loan repayments will be enough to not need 5A-fund infusions from the towns and the county.
“It’s been a very successful program in the county,” said Summit County government’s manager Gary Martinez. “They are at a point where they need that fund replenished some, and in this particular economic climate it’s probably important now more than ever to have some good down payment assistance capabilities for folks trying to get into homes in the county.”
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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