Grand Junction City Council discusses affordable housing

The City of Grand Junction wants to increase the total affordable housing stock by 225 units over the next five years. Which is an average of 45 units per year.
Affordable Housing in Grand Junction
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 12:04 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Monday evening, the Grand Junction City Council held a workshop to discuss affordable housing and strategies. This was part of ongoing housing assessment workshops.

Among the topics discussed were the shortage of affordable housing inventory in Grand Junction. It looked at the income restriction of units. Also they looked into introducing more multi-family units.

“We need to employ our money to encourage the development of new housing and renovation,” said Grand Junction Mayor Chuck McDaniel.

The City Council hired Root Policy Research, a housing research firm, to guide the process.

Root said the City of Grand Junction wants to increase the total affordable housing stock by 225 units over the next five years, which is an average of 45 units per year.

“Grand Junction’s really hit this tipping point of housing problems where we used to be kind of an affordable place to be and now we’ve gone over that mark where we’re not,” said Mesa County Housing Resources Executive Director Emilee Powell. “People are really struggling to find rentals and home ownership opportunities.”

Powell went on to explain one quick solution for home owners called down payment assistance.

“What could we do fast with things like down payments for home ownership and then what can we do in the long term to build new units,” said Powell. “Because we want to do something right away but we also want to be thinking two, three, five, ten years ahead. How do we build up the inventory of affordable housing.”

The City Council mentioned that it’s well known that the city is facing rising housing costs at a fast pace, which is affecting both rent and home costs. The City Council said that it’s pricing a lot of people out.

“We manage almost 200 units of affordable rental housing in Mesa County,” said Powell. “Our waitlist is two to three years depending on what kind of unit a family needs.”

The City Council also discussed how it would finance affordable housing. One idea was to use the city’s marijuana tax, but that wouldn’t begin until next year. Another idea was to use the lodging tax.

The City Council said it wants to encourage both the building of new affordable housing and renovating existing buildings into affordable housing. In the shorter term, they want to encourage the offering of incentives to landlords and property owners to reduce fees.

“Giving people waivers for fees or reducing fees if they provide a certain amount of discount or lower their prices for housing,” said Mayor McDaniel.

City Council is also looking at working with other affordable housing organizations such as CMU and School District 51 to strategize since they are also looking at affordable housing for teachers, faculty and students. This way they can bring all the money together to make the biggest impact.

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