Following what Chaffee County Housing Director Becky Gray termed “a real road show,” the Chaffee County Office of Housing is ready to present a proposed strategic plan to the Board of County Commissioners. Gray will review the draft plan at their Nov. 5 work session and ask them to adopt it at their Nov. 6 regular meeting.
The draft strategic plan has already received wide scrutiny. Gray has presented it to all three county municipalities: the City of Salida, the Town of Poncha Springs, and the Town of Buena Vista, incorporating their feedback and suggestions after meeting in person with each government.
It lays out proposed goals for the Office of Housing Strategic Plan that include education, collaboration, focused on development, renovation, and preservation of housing stock. The steering committee evaluated strategies that were previously identified through the 2016 Housing Needs Assessment and the county’s Housing Policy Advisory Committee, as well as best practices from the state and federal level, and made recommendations about which strategies would be most beneficial to include in the draft.
The plan has also been reviewed and endorsed by HPAC. In fact, Gray points out that the plan actually builds on the work already done by HPAC. In August, she convened a steering committee that includes one appointee to represent each of the municipalities in the county, Buena Vista, Poncha Springs, and Salida, as well as two appointees to represent Chaffee County.
The base mission of the Office of Housing is to enable all Chaffee County residents to have access to safe, stable and affordable housing. The vision underlying that mission is a regional housing system comprised of diverse partnerships that create both rental and ownership options across the housing spectrum. That housing system should support a socioeconomically diverse community, where the region’s workforce can live locally and benefit from a resilient economy.
Gray, who arrived at her new post in June of this year, says she is acutely aware of the urgency of the county’s affordable housing crisis. She points out that creating an environment in Chaffee County that promotes and supports affordable housing development takes time, but says that efforts are underway. “The HPAC and municipal leaders have done an excellent job of bringing housing affordability to the forefront of the community conversation,” said Gray. “The next step is to implement strategic interventions to encourage affordable development.”