TELLURIDE – Affordable housing…How much does the region need? What kind should it be? And where should it go? Especially now that we’re living in a drastically different economic environment than we were just a few years ago.
To answer those and other questions San Miguel County, through the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority, is sponsoring a comprehensive housing needs assessment covering all of San Miguel and Ouray counties as they contemplate the future of workforce housing.
Noting that it has been a decade since the Telluride Region did its last needs assessment (in which Ouray County was not included), “We had this boom and then this bust,” said SMRHA Executive Director Shirley Diaz.
The counties will use the new assessment to try to figure out what has changed since then, so they can better direct their efforts.
“Are people more rental focused or are they ownership focused?” Diaz gave as an example of new information that will be gleaned.
The joint study, which will depend on public participation to be successful, is the first of its kind to cover both counties. It is being funded by a grant for as much as $80,000 from the Colorado Division of Housing and will be conducted for the SMRHA by consultants RRC Associates and Reese Consulting.
“The Division of Housing wants some projects to come out of it, whether private or government,” said Diaz.
One particular focus of the study will be employee commuting and its impact on housing demand.
“We do want both in- and out-commuter data,” said Diaz.
“Ouray County really has both, and San Miguel County has it, but it takes shape differently.”
To help capture that information, four distinct surveys will be disseminated throughout the two counties.
An online key participant survey has already been provided to elected officials and other members of the community with an interest in housing, according to Diaz. Another web-based employer survey will go out to employers in the two counties during the week of January 10.
Households throughout the two counties can check their mailboxes for their surveys during the week of January 17, the same timeframe during which a commuter intercept survey will be distributed on shuttle vans and at parking lots and at construction sites to gain crucial information on employees who commute for work and the impact they have on housing demand.
As an incentive to get the surveys back in a timely fashion, three lucky households that return the completed forms no later than January 31 will win $100 gift certificates at the grocery store of their choice. Spanish speakers who need translation assistance can call the SMRHA at 970/728-3034 for help.
Three commuters will also win $100 grocery gift certificates, for a total of six winners.
In the event that someone receives both a household and commuter survey, Diaz has asked that they complete one or the other in order to achieve the most accurate results.
Results from the surveys will be tabulated and analyzed in February with a draft of the initial report by the end of March. Work will then continue on an action plan component of the study with presentations of the final report planned by mid-summer.
“There should be a public presentation in July of the findings,” said Diaz.
The SMRHA website is being updated to provide additional information on the study. Visit www.smrha.org for more information.