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Cheering on phase 1 at the Jane’s Place housing project site in Salida, April 28, 2023. Merrell Bergin photo

As reported earlier by Ark Valley Voice, the Chaffee Housing Authority has officially confirmed that the Colorado State Housing Board recently awarded $1,287,000 to the Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) from the Transformational Affordable Housing Grant Program for Jane’s Place.

“Securing this grant has been a team effort. I couldn’t have done this without the help and support of Joseph Teipel, Special Projects Manager for the Town of Buena Vista and CHA Board Member,” said CHA’s Executive Director Ashley Kappel.

Jane’s Place transitional housing, mixed-use site, a work in progress at West 3rd and Hwy 291 in Salida. Image courtesy Chaffee Housing Authority

This gap funding from the Division of Housing will enable CHA to re-enter negotiations for the project’s financing and construction, which had paused while awaiting word on gap funding.

Jane’s Place truly embodies the term “grassroots.” With the initial ideas for the project taking root in late 2019, hundreds of community members have been directly involved in the program design, initial funding, and ultimate physical design of the project.

Jane’s Place arose out of a recognition of a community need in Salida to fill gaps that aren’t being met by traditional affordable housing projects in the area.

Based on community feedback, and the vision and heart of the project’s namesake – Jane Whitmer, CHA and the Chaffee County Community Foundation (CCCF) have developed the project that will provide transitional housing for workforce and families.

It will also provide winter shelter for the unhoused, including a master lease to Chaffee Hospitality which currently runs those shelters in church basements. Additionally, the project will be home to a social enterprise coffee shop operated by Achieve, Inc. which provides employment to neurodivergent workers as well as a nonprofit development center leased to CCCF.

There has been widespread community support for the project. In fact, some $2.3 million in funding has been obtained through other grants and community donations. Almost half a million dollars were raised from community members alone through CCCF.

At this point, CHA says that the project is shovel-ready. It has completed site work, entitlements, and required building permits. The city of Salida has completed underground infrastructure. CHA leadership says it “is ready to go vertical” once the financing and updated construction contract have been secured.