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Yesterday the Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) made it official; announcing that they have selected Ashley Kappel, of Buena Vista as the new leader of the CHA (a story covered by Ark Valley Voice).

Kappel has been a CHA board member for the past year, where she served as chair of the Development Committee. On that committee, she spearheaded a number of projects including the development of a Special Limited Partnership (SLP) Program.

This program, when fully implemented, will allow the CHA to incentivize developers to build deed-restricted affordable housing rental units for the community in exchange for sales and property tax abatement, with the Authority becoming a minority owner of the projects to ensure long-term affordability.

Kappel says she is enthusiastic about her new post, “It is a distinct honor to lead the Chaffee Housing Authority and help take the organization to the next level. We all need to roll up our sleeves and work together as a community to solve the affordable housing crisis in Chaffee County.”

The hiring agreement was dated April 24, and plans are for Kappel to meet county stakeholders as one of her first orders of business. Following this, the CHA announced today that it is organizing two, informal “meet and greets” (one in Salida the other in Buena Vista) to allow the community to meet Kappel and the CHA board. The dates have not yet been set.

The transition to new leadership coincides with the move from a startup to a fully-functioning, quasi-governmental entity. The CHA says it “envisions a community with housing opportunities that are affordable for all residents. We envision a workforce that can live locally and fully participate in our community, contributing to a strong and resilient economy.”

As it works toward that goal, the CHA reiterates its Four Point Plan to Address Chaffee’s Housing Crisis to the residents of Chaffee County:

  1. Change government policies to make affordable housing more attainable for renters and homeowners. CHA’s advocacy and policy goal: To represent the housing needs of Chaffee County residents – namely low-income households, moderate-income households, and people employed by Chaffee County employers – in policy and strategy discussions at the federal, state, and local levels. CHA will focus on equity and justice when building housing coalitions.
  2. Build significantly more housing units – especially rentals – to meet the needs of local workers, seniors, and families. CHA’s housing development goal: To contribute to the construction of permanently affordable housing units in Chaffee County through public-private partnerships.
  3. Establish and support local programs – rental assistance, homeless prevention, and rapid re-housing – for community members facing housing insecurities. CHA’s housing stability program goal: To establish, operate, or promote local programs that will provide housing stability to Chaffee County residents.
  4. Build a sustainable organization with the mandate, expertise, and financing to address affordable housing. CHA’s organizational development goal: To operate the organization with the utmost professionalism, financial responsibility, and transparency.