New valley housing plan approved

A road map for closing the housing gap

By Alissa Johnson

The Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority (GVRHA) approved a 40-page housing plan this month intended to help address the area housing shortage. Director Jennifer Kermode calls the Gunnison Valley Housing Plan a road map for the GVRHA by outlining “where we are now and how to get where we want to be.”

A 2016 Housing Needs Assessment identified a need for 960 affordable housing units. According to Kermode, the assessment estimated that the public sector would need to be involved in the construction of 420 of those units and assumed the free market would build approximately 540.

“To date, fewer than 50 have been built by the free market,” Kermode says.

The Housing Plan sets a goal of building 375 or more affordable homes between now and 2024 to address a large portion of the public sector’s 420 units. The GVRHA, which is not set up as a developer, will largely do that by coordinating efforts throughout the valley and providing support to homeowners and the housing authority’s member jurisdictions, such as Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, the city of Gunnison and Gunnison County. That includes project evaluation, advocating for funding and supporting homeowners and renters through education and technical assistance.

“In laymen’s terms, the role of the GVRHA is to plan for and assist in the creation of new, affordable housing in the valley; accelerate the implementation of new programs and services, thus expanding our reach to locals; and put systems into place that protect the investments that the local governments, residents and tax-payers make into our community,” Kermode said.

Currently, there are just under 200 affordable for-sale and rental homes being built in the valley. “Our current projects, which sound impressive considering the number of homes built in the past ten years [that were] affordable to local workers, just aren’t enough to close the gap between what’s needed and what’s available,” Kermode said.

The full plan is available at the GVHRA website, under the GVRHA documents tab.

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