The Chaffee Board of County Commissioners, convened as the Board of Health, has scheduled a rare special meeting for 8:15 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 23. Two items are on the agenda. The board will review a contract between Verdunity, Inc. and Chaffee County Public Health. Per Chaffee County Department of Health Executive Director Andrea Carlstrom. The contract is for work to determine the financial implications of development patterns and incremental development.

This past spring, Chaffee County was awarded a $240,000 public health grant – pure grant monies because it did not require a local match.  It was a joint application made by the Chaffee County Department of Public Health and the Chaffee County Office of Housing. The focus of the first year of the program will be to gather community input to identify and prioritize efforts to improve the county’s workforce housing situation.

“This is a really exciting opportunity because health equity isn’t necessarily embedded into housing and comprehensive plans,” said Carlstrom at the time the grant was awarded.

(Image courtesy of Housing Works www.austin.org)

The grant funding will be used to implement evidence-based strategies, working on systems and policies that address areas such as land-use planning, housing affordability and gentrification that displaces critical workforce. Carlstrom and Chaffee Housing Director Becky Gray say they also have another outcome in mind. Both aim for a more educated population, aware of how housing instability affects family health outcomes and contributes to economic inequity.

“We select the topics, and reconvene a core team for training, said Gray during a recent Housing Policy Advisory Committee meeting in Buena Vista. “I’m thinking of [delivering] it as two semesters [of presentations], with four seminars in the fall, and another five next spring.”

Carlstrom has pointed out in public meetings with commissioners that public health policy officials have linked poor and insecure housing conditions to health problems in adults and children. Those unsafe conditions and environmental circumstances can range from the absence of any secure housing situation, to shelter issues caused by lead-filled pipes, black mold, and dangerous electrical situations, or dangers from asbestos insulation and old lead paint.

The board will also review a request regarding minimum setbacks from a property line related to a home located at 7445 CR 150, Salida. The residence has a 1918 hand-dug well and the request is related to the on-site wastewater treatment system.