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Regional Housing Alliance opts into Proposition 123

La Plata County government entities commit to building 320 units over the next three years
The city of Durango has committed to building 184 workforce or affordable housing units over the next three years. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The Regional Housing Alliance announced on Sept. 28 that all of its government members have opted into Proposition 123.

The RHA is compromised of members from the city of Durango, La Plata County and the towns of Bayfield and Ignacio.

Prop 123 is Colorado’s Affordable Housing Financing Fund and dedicates 40% of funds to the Affordable Housing Support Fund administered by the Department of Local Affairs. The remaining 60% goes to the Affordable Housing Financing Fund.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade oversees Prop 123 to fund housing programs.

La Plata County’s municipalities have experienced a massive increase in home and rent prices since 2019. The 2022 Livable Wage Report from Region 9 Economic Development showed that the average rent cost for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,450. The report did not show an average rent price for Bayfield and Ignacio. However, it showed that fair market price in 2022 for Bayfield and Ignacio was $1,240 per month.

Home prices in La Plata County have skyrocketed to a median price of $640,000 during the second quarter of 2023 compared to a median price of $378,500 during the second quarter in 2019, according to data from Durango Area Association of Realtors.

During the second quarter of 2023, in-town Bayfield homes rang in at a median price of $511,450 compared to a median cost of $333,500 during the second quarter in 2019.

Ignacio also experienced a bump in housing costs with a median price of $275,000 during the second quarter of 2023. The median price during the second quarter of 2019 was $135,000.

Prop 123 allows local governments to apply for funding to help with aspects of a project like land banking, project support, planning, facilitating homeownership and addressing homelessness.

The program stipulates that creating new affordable inventory can include both rental units and homeownership units, with rent being considered affordable if the unit's gross rent is at or below 60% of the area median income for La Plata County.

Homeownership units are considered affordable housing if the home’s value is at or below 100% area median income. The four-person household AMI in La Plata County is $103,900 per year.

Based on data from the RHA, a salary of $43,680 per year is considered 60% AMI for one person, while 60% AMI for a four-person household is $62,340.

“La Plata County gave the decision to opt in to Proposition 123 much thought and due diligence. With the lack of affordable and workforce housing touching virtually every sector in the county, we determined it was an appropriate direction,” said Marsha Porter-Norton, Vice Chair of the RHA Board and La Plata County Commissioner in a news release. “We are anxious to see how the members of the Regional Housing Alliance and others can access these State funds to get more housing built, units that are desperately needed for residents across La Plata County.”

In order to qualify for access to these funds, each government entity agreed to the Local Government Affordable Housing Commitment, which includes a requirement to increase existing affordable housing units by 3% a year and an expedited review process for affordable housing developments.

Here is the baseline commitment for each municipality over the next three years:

  • City of Durango — 184 units
  • Town of Bayfield — 14 units
  • Town of Ignacio — 14 units
  • La Plata County — 108 units

“We’re very happy to be eligible for the funding that Proposition 123 provides,” said Eva Henson, manager of the city’s housing innovation division. “By establishing this baseline, we can now commit to increasing local affordable housing stock by 3% each year for 2024, 2025 and 2026, which translates into 184 units.”

Ignacio Mayor Clark Craig said in a news release last week that the town is committed to finding more affordable ownership options for its residents.

Bayfield Town Manager Katie Sickles said Prop 123 will assist in constructing almost 100 units for its community members.

The RHA tracks the projects of the four government entities, plus their funding applications. These entities are pursuing nearly $25 million in state funds in order to provide attainable housing and workforce housing.


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