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Lack of affordable housing reaches ‘crisis proportions’ in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A relatively new group told the City Council that the limited availability of affordable housing in the city is now at a crisis, and requires more drastic and immediate action.

At least two council members agreed with the assessment Monday provided by the Affordable Housing Collaborative during a council work session.

The AHC is a group of five people who formed in 2019 to do more in-depth research into the city's lack of affordable housing -- defined as housing that costs more than 30% of a person's annual income.

Affordable housing, according to the AHC, is limited because of population growth, lack of housing availability, increased costs of building materials, growing costs for rental properties and single-family homes, and a reluctance by many developers to consider building other types of housing such as condominiums and townhomes.

Fees charged to developers and homebuilders by local governments is another factor mentioned in the affordable housing crunch.

Although the city is meeting Mayor John Suthers' 2018 goal of building at least 1,000 affordable housing units annually, the AHC is going beyond existing channels to get more individuals involved in resolving the crisis.

"We'd like to get individuals, businesses and institutions that own land to donate it," AHC member Randy Scott said. "Then we can connect them with a developer and build an affordable housing project. Having the land donated keeps the cost of a project more affordable."

The AHC said that two issues are affecting public perception of affordable housing projects: Many people are unaware that a problem exists because it doesn't affect them or their neighborhood; or they believe that living near a project will negatively affect surrounding property values.

"We've studied that extensively and we haven't found any project that decreased nearby property values," Scott said.

Scott's wife, B.J., is also a member of the collaborative.

"We need to stop doing thinks because we like them , or they make money or they're what we've always done," she said. "We need to be open-minded and do things that are best for our community. Most of our land is devoted to single-family homes. Our economy can't maintain that. We need to look at best-practices solutions in other cities. Consider other types of projects. Maybe build housing on vacant retail property."

Council members Yolanda Avila and Richard Skorman agreed with the AHC's sense of urgency.

"How do we support this housing?" said Avila. "How do we get to that level where we actually make things happen? The waiting list for affordable housing is long already."

"I don't want it to be burdened by bureaucracy too much," Skorman said. "I think that we really have to get moving on this. We should consider this an emergency, so that we're not having the same meeting a year or two from now."

The AHC said that its next step is hosting a housing summit this year that will focus on solutions to the crisis.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

20 Comments

  1. Omg, is suthers for real? He should ask his developer friends to build homes and sell them for 1/3 their cost. I guess not because a friend of developers would not ask that of them
    .

  2. You can tell that by the over whelming amount of homeless ,and i am not just talking about the people that do not want to work. When you look around for a 1 bedroom apt and the cheapest is 1200 .that’s sad. But that’s the cost of living in beautiful Colorado springs right

  3. I met three more people today who moved here since the first of the year, from out of state. They have no job or job prospects. They are living with ” family”. They are aware if the housing problem but came anyway. No real reason for coming , but are complaining about everything. GO BACK to where you came from!

    1. Skippy, I agree! People move here with no plan and no clue what to expect and end up in trouble, and then blame the city for not providing housing?

  4. When you add to the high cost of housing comes in the latest kick to the keister of people trying to make a living is soaring food prices, fuel prices, utility prices, property taxes, low relative wages and high unemployment how much can people bear.

    1. We are a family of 3, unfortunately, both my husband and son are on SSDI, I get a spouse benefit, but we are just barely surviving. I sold my home and bought a modular home-paid in full- in a well-run gated MH community. I still have to pay lot rent every month but it includes sewer trash and water. I cannot tell you how I felt being forced to sell my home, knowing I will never have that chance again, I have stage 4 breast cancer-at the moment in remission, but everything just keeps going up and SS doesn’t compensate you for that every single month when costs go up. I cannot leave this state-my life-saving care and treatment is tied to this state and Memorial- and getting a life-threatening disease that needs constant treatment-We are just stuck here. I can’t take a chance to miss a treatment and we have no other relatives. We can’t get any food help from the state as we are a few hundred dollars over the federal poverty line. The FPL is based on the cost of food in 1955 and has never been changed or raised all this time. I am fortunate that my cancer care is taken care of Medicaid-THis is a special FEDERAL Medicaid for breast and cervical cancer patients only, I am blessed to have this, or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. I think Suthers wants this town to be only for the elite, the rich, the hobnobbers of high society. Poor people are a burden on his fantasy and he truly has no inclination to help the less fortunate. Many of you say -“just move somewhere else” but we are stuck here in this endless drowning pit of despair. I do not leave the house except for medical treatments,etc..No I did not get a covid shot because I am already on mononucleal antibody therapy (the basis of the MRna shots)-I am scared they will cause problems with my cancer treatment. It’s getting harder to make it through each day and the city-in their typical anti-Tabor style-just keeps creating new “fees” (Taxation without representation is what it IS). My son drives me to all my tests and appointments and treatments and as long as he is doing this for me, he has no chance to create some sort of sustaining life for himself. My biggest fear is that this city will tax and fee us right into homelessness (our income is $1900.00 a month-that’s IT). I feel despondent every day but I purpose to not give up because my small family needs and loves me and I have strong faith that somehow we will not have to choose between roof and food. Sadly-a lot of people in this town are staring straight down that barrel. I just wanted to explain my situation to you-that feels like drowning a bit every day and give credence to your statement that everybody is charging more for everything, but there are people like me who are desperately trying and praying the city won’t take more of my food money. We are good Christian people but as God said-the poor will always be among us. There are people who have it worse than me in this “City of Champions.” Champions at what???

      1. A very good personal family testimony of the reality of the increasing hardship people are facing living in the economy here. You also point out well the callousness of our local leaders towards those struggling here.
        I wish you well and a full long term recovery from the cancer you are battling.

      2. Wait, so every single dollar you make is provided by the state. Your medical expenses are completely covered by the state. Yet you complain about taxes? That’s literally what’s giving you every penny you exist on.

        I feel sorry for your situation. My young daughter has an illness that medicaid covers and I know what a life saver that is, but you’re literally biting the hand that feeds you.

        As for low income housing, the housing itself doesn’t drive property values down. But low income housing usually brings higher crime with it and THAT will bring down property values. Just ask the people in Banning Lewis who have no idea yet that a section 8 apartment complex is planned for their neighborhood.

        1. The growing population of the working poor who have no health problems are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.
          Struggling in this economy with health problems makes the pain even worse.

      3. I see that you have health issues, but every bit of your income is free from the government and you want something more? What did you do before you became ill? And your husband? No savings, no pensions, no disability insurance? It’s BS that your son is not working to better himself. Sure, he drives you and that’s great but there are ride services for sick people. I’ve seen them pull up to cancer centers. And I doubt he drives you after 4:00 pm and on weekends, so he could work at a 7/11 or wait tables. Or work at home online, a lot of people do online medical billing and coding. He is going to end up homeless or in a sorry situation when you are gone if he doesn’t get his act together. Online classes, some kind of plan. You posted this same stuff 2 and 3 years ago about your situation; just how long is your son going to hang around without a career? During Covid, my young son lost his job and did door dash delivery in the evening and easily made $100-150 a night in a few hours. So that’s $500-700/week your son could be contributing, but instead you have to feed him and he is a financial burden. You whine and complain and you are setting him up for failure in life.

      4. Colorado food stamp assistance income max for a family of three is $3500. You easily qualify. And there are food pantries as well. Tell your son to go get a job

  5. Have you ever noticed that everything a Liberal describes is a “crisis”? Housing, COVID, child daycare, student debit, gender affairs, racism, firearms, the climate….. everything except the border.

  6. I don’t reside in Aspen, Monaco, Paris, Honolulu, because I simply cannot afford the cost of living there. Maybe people who move to COS or continue to reside here re-think their situation and move to a more affordable venue. It’s not difficult to figure out.

    1. I was born in this city and have seen it turned into a septic pit because.of the people who have moved here. and I’ll be goddamned if I will be told to leave my home because of worthless transplants.who moved here because their home is taxing them to much.
      you’re just bringing you garbage here and making it everyone elses problem.
      GTFOH.

    2. Sure..and Service people will live 10 to an apartment for the pleasure of waiting on your arse. When a couple both work full time jobs and STILL barely make it, there’s a problem..

  7. @servant said: “Have you ever noticed that everything a Liberal describes is a “crisis”?”

    To which the only response is: Have you evern noticed the the first thing a conservative does is attack a liberal.

    A plague on both your houses…

  8. So they want people to donate land to a developer so they can build affordable housing and sell it for a profit….. That is how to keep the cost down? Are you kidding

  9. How long before the government forces me to house those without? They already tell me how to store my firearms(which I will never comply with). You can’t even own a dog without a license! You people really need approval from the government like they’re your parents to own a puppy?

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