Library Corner: Tackling affordable housing
GCLD executive director
Having dinner with two young people born and raised in Grand County, one in college, one a college graduate, the inevitable topic of housing came up.
“I can’t afford to buy a home here,” Tori commented. “Grand County’s my home. I love it here, but there’s no way I can afford to live here.”
Do a quick search using the keyword ‘housing’ and articles for Kremmling, Granby, Fraser, Grand Lake, Winter Park and the county all have headlines regarding affordable housing. No need to go back more than 30 days. Even NPR published a piece titled “First-time homebuyers are getting squeezed out by investors.”
As libraries are forums for information and ideas, we’ve joined the likes of other local government entities and nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity, Mountain Family Center, and the Grand Foundation in trying to support members of the community to achieve housing security. As part of our sustainability series, a group of programs and resources are in place to help residents build awareness of resources in the community available to access the housing market.
In a recent conversation with Yolanda Jurgensen, Grand County resident and loan originator with Cherry Creek Mortgage, she mentioned the importance of getting one’s ducks in a row in preparation for purchasing a home. Ms. Jurgensen has been offering first-time home buyer classes in the community room of Granby Library.
“There are so few houses on the market for less than a million dollars. It is important to get your paperwork and finances in order to have good credit and everything ready to go, so when something becomes available, you can act immediately,” Jurgensen says.
Jurgensen works with a variety of entities that are focused on homeownership, including Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA). These entities provide down payment assistance, grants to cover down payment & closing costs, and home purchase loan programs. She also provides loan mortgage products at low rates for certain professions such as EMS, law enforcement and medical professionals. Tablets and public computers are available in our libraries to research services available through CHFA or the Grand Foundation and Grand County Housing Authority.
GCLD will continue to respond to community information needs in the area of housing through education. Perhaps you’re curious about co-buying housing through cooperatives and shared ownership housing? A program in the Spring will focus on the topic. Need help boosting your credit score (620 minimum for a CHFA loan)? Online resource Universal Class has ‘How to Manage Your Money’ is available 24/7 through http://www.gcld.org.
Don’t think you can purchase a home in our community? Educate yourself. Use your library to gain a better understanding of your credit, resources available to support housing security, and steps to take for home ownership.
Grand County Rural Health Community Leader Group meets on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 6-8 p.m. via Zoom. Focus: Affordable housing and mental health are issues that impact us all. “You see a need for change in our community. We can connect you with opportunities to advocate for that change.”
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