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Durango hires housing innovations manager

City hopes to find creative solutions to address low stock of workforce and affordable dwellings
The city of Durango has hired Eva Henson to fill the new role of housing innovations manager, which will work to find creative solutions to address the need for affordable and workforce housing. (Courtesy of Eva Henson)

The city of Durango has hired a manager to lead its new Housing Innovation Division.

City Council created the division as a front-and-center effort to achieve the affordability and economic opportunity goals laid out in the city’s strategic plan.

Eva Henson will direct, plan and coordinate Durango’s Housing Program as well as create and direct overall strategy to strengthen the community’s access to housing and affordability.

“I’m excited to hit the ground running to address the housing shortage we’re facing here in the community,” she said.

Henson comes to Durango from Frisco after spending two years working in a similar housing innovation role for the town.

“That was also a new role that the Frisco strategic plan and council had driven funding toward,” she said. “I worked on various housing programs, and various teaching initiatives to incentivize development.”

Before working for the town of Frisco, Henson worked for the Summit County government for nine years. She has also been a licensed real estate agent since 2005.

Henson said she has an understanding of housing shortages because she’s experienced the challenges of finding an affordable home firsthand.

“I worked two jobs for over 10 years in Summit County just trying to make it work,” she said. “My very first home that I purchased with my husband was a deed-restricted workforce housing unit. We would not be able to stay in Summit County without having that opportunity for homeownership.”

Looking at Durango’s approach to shortages in the housing market, Henson said she’s impressed with the steps the city has taken so far.

“The council’s strategic plan to help create and incentivize affordable housing has really helped shape and mold why I’m here,” she said.

She said one of the projects she has started working on is forming a deed-restriction program that will reserve certain housing units to be affordably priced for members of Durango’s workforce.

“I’m excited to come up with a deed-restricted program to help administer with Homes Fund’s partnership to get more housing preserved for our local workforce,” she said.

Henson said her personal goal as the new housing innovation manager is to create 100 affordable or workforce housing units within the next year.

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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