The Chaffee Housing Authority Board of Directors met in regular session on Thursday, May 18.
Jane’s Place Committee carved out from Development Committee
The major topic of discussion and sole item requiring board approval was Resolution R2023-08. The intent of the resolution is to rescind the powers and functions previously delegated to the Development Committee with respect to the Jane’s Place project, instead authorizing the Jane’s Place Committee to assume those responsibilities.
The rationale for the organizational change is that based on the complexity and ongoing operation and maintenance of the Jane’s Place Project, a new committee should be formed to focus specifically on the Jane’s Place project.
After some discussion clarifying the scope of the change, a motion to approve Resolution R2023-08 was made by board member Dominique Naccarato, seconded by member Eileen Rogers, and passed unanimously.
The committee will be chaired by Joseph Teipel, CHA Vice Chair, and include CHA Board Member Monica Haskell, along with CHA Executive Director, Ashley Kappel. Also serving will be community partners, including a representative from the CHA Development Committee, Jeff Eaton; Chaffee County Community Foundation (CCCF) Executive Director, Betsy Dittenber; CCCF Board Chair Megan Leesley; CCCF Board Member Rick Hamilton; the Executive Director of the nonprofit Achieve, Jenny Davis; and community volunteer, Miki Hodge.
Sole authority of committee:
- The Jane’s Place committee will have the authority to develop plans and strategies related to the financing, partnership management, funding, future operational planning, and communications around Jane’s Place.
- Major decisions involving the CHA Board’s fiduciary oversight will be brought to the CHA Board for discussion and approval.
- Financial: Oversight, review, and support of financing including proforma updates.
- Partnership Management: Documentation of all partnerships related to the project and communication of status to partners.
- Funding Plan: Creation and implementation of a plan to close the gaps in funding needs, including grant research and writing, individual donor requests, confirmation of naming/sponsorship opportunities, and relationship management.
- Communications: Creation and implementation of a communications plan in partnership with the CHA Community Engagement Committee, including regular updates to stakeholders designed to foster community excitement for the project.
- Action Plan: Creation and implementation of who/what/when with reporting timelines
Committee meetings are planned for a weekly cadence and according to Kappel, “all members are on board with that.” It was noted that with only two elected board members involved, that it is not intended that committee meetings will be publicly noticed.
Given the elapsed time on the project to date, including delays from the Department of Housing on a major grant, and a potential funding gap, CHA Board Chair Craig Nielson says he expects to hold a weekly report-out with Executive Director Ashly Kappel on the progress of the committee.
Funding gap anticipated with Jane’s Place project
While phase one (site readiness) is now complete, the pressures of inflation and significant increases in the today’s cost of borrowed funds are causing some concern for the board.
Member Eileen Rogers repeatedly stressed that time is of the essence to begin building the structures, yet Nielson responded that financing comes first. As a result, the proforma financial statements for this complex project are being vetted once again, line by line.
Current “terms sheets” from local lenders are being closely examined, especially as there is a linkage to the receipt of the anticipated major grant from the Colorado Department of Housing (DOH). The DOH board is finally expected to consider the grant on June 13 and staff from both DOH and CHA plan to meet ahead of that to answer any residual questions.
In addition, previously submitted construction bids and the potential for any in-kind donations are being reviewed and updated. Construction on Jane’s Place will not begin until the funding stack is assured and aligned with the current cost and projected lease revenue streams. The project simply must “cash flow” (positively, to service its debt, provide for operations/services, and maintenance).
At this point, even including the major community and municipal funding to date, the board anticipates there may be a funding gap; the size of which (and plans to close) remain to be determined.
In Other Board Discussions
Housing advocate and guest Salty Riggs spoke about efforts to patch up relations between the BETCH housing group and the CHA. She referred to an upcoming session to be facilitated by Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ). To improve communications, she also asked for and received a single channel of communication between her group and the CHA – specifically, Executive Director Ashley Kappel.
Kappel reported on her 90-day work plan, citing meetings scheduled with key stakeholders across the county. She announced two “meet and greet” events with the public. Details will be released soon for a session on Monday, June 6, outdoors at Soulcraft Brewing in Salida and another in Buena Vista on June 12 at Deerhammer Distillery.
Kappel also reported that there is great benefit in providing a united (housing) front on plans for the South Ark Neighborhood master plan in Salida. She has met with South Ark project consultants StudioSeed and expressed that the CHA wants to weigh in before the next round of plan concepts is presented publicly. The StudioSeed consultants are expected to attend the June 15 CHA Board meeting.
According to the discussion during the meeting, a “united front” with the CHA, the Chaffee Housing Trust (CHT), the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), senior housing advocates, and others is intended to share common concerns about competing uses (open space, housing, recreation) for the land. Collaboration may help these groups bump up the maximum number of units that might be built in the South Arkansas Neighborhood.
The next CHA Board meeting is scheduled for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 15. Meeting notices and agenda are posted on the Chaffee County website home page (Calendar) a few days in advance.