Tips from the Housing Authority
Executive director, Summit Combined Housing Authority
The Summit Combined Housing Authority would like to extend an enormous Thank You! to the Summit Association of Realtors and CARHOF (Colorado Association of Realtors Housing Opportunity Foundation) for their generous contribution to our agency this month.
We are proud of their recognition of our efforts and will be utilizing those funds in one of our down payment assistance programs. As our local workforce benefits from our efforts, so does the rest of the county. Let me explain how.
Our community offers challenges to attainable housing that larger population centers don’t face. Our basic industry, tourism, requires a large number of seasonal workers as well as full time permanent workers, thus our need for all types of housing, from ownership to employee and short-term rental housing (6 months or less). Tourism also creates a diverse employment base of non-basic industries: retail, housing, utilities, public transportation, personal care, health, education, local government, finance, entertainment and social services. If we cannot provide housing for those that work in these non-basic industries, it will be difficult, and ultimately perhaps impossible to sustain our basic industry ” tourism.
If a buyer does not have access to sufficient funds for meeting their lender’s down payment and closing cost requirements, they can apply for one of our down payment assistance (DPA) programs. These programs can be used for the purchase of market-rate units as well as deed-restricted units.
Of the four we currently have available, two are funded with state or federal dollars, and two are funded with “local” dollars such as grants and contributions. We do not have any DPA’s that do not require repayment, so borrowers must qualify for them and repay them, same as their first mortgage loans. In order for these funds to provide as much benefit as possible, they offer very low interest rates; in order for two of the programs to be self-sustaining, they offer incentives for early payoff. The SCHA does not offer any first mortgage loans to any borrowers.
The SCHA provides real estate clearinghouse services for many of the developers in the county that build attainable housing. With a variety of funding sources, we can offer our services at lower-than-market levels. This helps the developer to reduce the cost of building and selling less-than-market-rate units. Unless a particular development requires that units be offered based on a lottery system, we prefer to offer them on a “first come-first served” basis to buyers who meet any income and/or employment restrictions imposed. There is little opportunity to create attainable housing from our existing housing stock so most of what is offered is new construction.
The SCHA is not a developer, and does not offer free housing to anyone. Nor are we currently a public housing authority ” we do not own assisted-living facilities or rental housing units that we lease out to workforce. These are tools for us to visit in the future to help with our housing needs, however.
We welcome everyone to stop by and visit with us to learn more about the services we offer (and those we don’t), and visit our website at http://www.summithousing.us. We also encourage your open dialogue with us regarding solutions to our community’s housing needs!
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