RALF hoping for subsidies

Group wants affordable housing funds to be used toward West End Village

— The city and county have been putting away a total of $250,000 in affordable housing subsidies for the past two years. Tonight, the two groups will meet to discuss a proposal from the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, which is hoping to lay its hands on the entire sum of that money for the West End Village project.

RALF Executive Director Rob Dick said the group would use the money to purchase the land and pay for other costs of the lot for a 32-unit multi-family development on the site.

West End Village, located on 30 acres off Downhill Drive, was the first project to be reviewed under the West of Steamboat Area Plan. That plan was designed to encourage developers to build affordable housing by finding ways to help subsidize their developments.

RALF, in conjunction with local contractor Steve Cavanagh, has promised to offer at least 50 percent of the units to low- and middle-income families, while the other half would be offered at market prices.

The 137-unit project was approved Dec. 19 by City Council after RALF decided to hold off on asking for subsidies until after the project was approved. Council did give the project what the city called "land concessions," primarily in the form of a reduction in the number of sidewalks required, to keep the lots affordable.

To reach the low- and middle-income community in Steamboat, however, the project will need more help than just those concessions, Dick said.

In return for selling half of the units to people making 120 percent or less of the county median income, Dick said he thinks the project ought to get some help from local government.

"We've had all these affordable housing requirements that we've accepted, but we haven't gotten any subsidies yet," Dick said.

Dick added the organization will be able to pay the city back once the units are sold. If the city forgoes that repayment, RALF will be able to sell the units for even less.

That could allow the nonprofit to target individuals in lower income brackets, possibly those who make 100 percent of the median income or less, Dick said.

In return for the subsidy, Dick said the organization is willing to place price restrictions on the units so the owners will not be able to make a windfall off the home's appreciation and the homes will remain affordable despite market changes.

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