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Change at top for affordable-home group


By Jordyn Dahl Herald staff writer

The Regional Housing Alliance of La Plata County is hiring a new director.

Former director Jennifer Lopez left in March to be the development specialist for the Western Slope, a joint position with the Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Housing Finance Authority.Lopez was with the RHA for 12 years and created a variety of loan programs for the organization.

“We’re hoping to have someone as good as her. She was great,” said RHA board member David Gore.

She won’t be completely detached from RHA moving forward, though. Lopez said she’ll continue having a relationship with RHA funds because she’ll be in charge of funding some of its programs.

The RHA board of directors hopes to have a new director in place by June 1.

Peter Werwath has been named interim director. Werwath has been a consultant for RHA since 2006 and helped it set up a lending program.

Werwath is based in Maryland where his consulting company Werwath Associates, is located. He will primarily be working remotely for the five-month job, which pays $14,000 in addition to the $10,000 he makes as a consultant for the year.

“He didn’t have to be brought up to speed. He could walk right in and just help out,” Gore said.

Werwath will make a few scheduled visits to Durango, including one next week when the board meets to review the 37 applications it has received for the executive director role.

While local candidates probably will get preference because of relocation costs, the skills needed to fill the role are specific, Werwath said. The salary for the role is $65,000 to $75,000, depending on the amount of experience the person has.

The director needs to understand home loans and lending, as well as be able to work with the city and county on creating affordable-housing agreements with developers, he said.

Werwath will help in the hiring process and help the person get acquainted with the inner workings of the organization, Gore said.


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