In a move to reinforce the Chaffee County Office of Housing’s new Rental Deposit Guarantee Program, a partnership has been solidified with High Country Bank, adding to the rental program financial underpinnings. The announcement, made Monday by Office of Housing Director Becky Gray, is good news for a county that is focusing on developing solutions for its workforce housing crisis.

The program assists tenants with the up-front costs of entering rental housing. It offers a rent deposit guarantee to landlords and property owners that allows the tenant to get into rental housing while repaying the deposit amount over the first 12-months of the lease.

High Country Bank has announced financial support for the Chaffee County Rental Deposit Guarantee Program. (Photo by Henry DeKam)

High Country Bank has contributed $2,500 to the program, which launched on July 1, with a $40,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation’s Central Peaks Council. The decision to support the effort, says Vice President of Commercial Loans Joe Smith, was an easy one.

“High Country Bank is committed to serving the people that live and work in our local communities. So when I heard about the program, I immediately reached out to Becky Gray to …offer our support. We hope this $2,500 donation will stretch the rental deposit program even further to allow for members of our community to obtain rental housing that they may not otherwise be able to obtain.”

Eligibility is based on clear qualifications, and it applies to incomes higher than might be expected. Chaffee County residents who earn 100 percent of the area median income or less (currently $47,700 for a single person), who also have good rental history and can demonstrate the ability to repay the deposit amount over the term of the lease (or with a 12 months maximum whichever is less) are eligible.

The program functions based on a promissory note provided by the Office of Housing to landlords and property managers for the amount of the deposit. Once the tenant completes payment installments of the deposit, the Office of Housing will issue a check for the full deposit amount directly to the landlord or property manager, thus eliminating any risk to the landlord.

Those seeking more information about the program can go to the Office of Housing webpage (www.chaffeecounty.org/Housing) or call the Director of Housing at 719-530-2590.