Multiple partners have aided in the provisioning of affordable housing units in Grand County. These efforts should be lauded.

housing efforts to date

The current affordable housing stock in Grand County totals to 413 units, including 171 owner units and 242 renter units. Only 199 of these units will be deed restricted by 2020.

 

Multiple partners have aided in the provisioning of affordable housing units in Grand County. These efforts should be lauded. Additionally, the Interlocal Housing Task Force recently reestablished itself as an active work group aggressively targeting policies and programs that may help to address the decline of housing affordability and availability. The task force meets monthly, includes broad representation from the community, and serves as a driving force behind work in the affordable housing arena. Because of its efforts, the City of Moab and Grand County have made the topic of affordable housing a standing agenda item on all joint meetings. Further, the City of Moab has included affordable housing as a top legislative priority. It recently allocated $150,000 to affordable housing. Grand County has established regular workshops between the Council and Planning Commission, agreed to a work plan, and begun executing the work plan through policy changes and planning. It too has allocated funds towards affordable housing.

 

Of particular interest to affordable housing specialists is the period of affordability. The adjacent table includes the occupancy type and deed restriction status for multiple housing developments. The Mutual Self-Help (MSH) program, administered by HASU, has produced the greatest number of housing units for low-income households. Utilizing USDA 502-direct loans, the MSH program enables eligible households to contribute “sweat equity” towards the construction of their homes in exchange for low-interest rates, loan repayment subsidies, and home equity. Community Rebuilds also utilizes 502-direct and 523-guaranteed loans administered by USDA. Both organizations are working with USDA to create and implement deed restrictions on newly constructed homes beginning in 2017. Deed restrictions are critical for preserving long-term housing affordability and may last between 15 and 99 years, or remain in perpetuity.

 

In May 2016, the Arroyo Crossing Subdivision was approved as the very first private development to include a voluntary 20 percent (20%) set-aside for affordable housing. The agreement followed months of negotiations with the property owner and developer, a successful rezone request, and master plan approval. Once fully constructed, 44 of the 220 proposed housing units will be deed-restricted for a minimum of 40 years. Eligible households cannot earn more than 80 percent (80%) of AMI and must have at least one adult who works full-time within the boundaries of the Grand County School District, be of retirement age (62 or older), or have a qualifying mental or physical disability. The development agreement that establishes this set-aside encumbrance of Arroyo Crossing subdivision represents the single largest development impact of a non-subsidized, privately constructed project to date. Indeed, it sets a historic precedent in Grand County.