Rep. Neguse introduces affordable housing legislation to help the Western Slope

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse introduced two bills Monday with the goal of ensuring access to affordable, reliable and safe housing for people on the Western Slope. One increases the time window that properties built with federal housing credits must remain affordable, and the other would change how area median incomes can be calculated.

The Save Affordable Housing Act targets properties that were built with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which incentivizes private developers to build affordable housing units. 

Owners of those units can currently convert their properties to a market rate after 15 years, but the act would extend that timeline to 30 years so affordable units stay affordable longer, according to a news release from Neguse’s office.

The Housing Fairness for Mountain Communities Act looks to change how area median income can be calculated by allowing counties to use data from a ZIP code or regional level. 

Currently AMI, which is used to determine eligibility for and pricing of affordable housing units, is calculated at a county level. In mountain communities, there can be large wealth disparities within a county, and much of a county’s workforce may live outside county borders, the news release stated.

The act would allow counties to calculate AMI at different levels to give a more accurate and nuanced reflection of wealth levels in the area and make sure working families have access to federal housing assistance.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse recently introduced two bills with the goal of ensuring access to affordable housing for people on the Western Slope.
Photo by Ashley Low / Ashley Low Photography

Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos was one of eight mountain community legislators quoted in Neguse’s news release voicing support for the Housing Fairness for Mountain Communities Act. Kutrumbos’ quote read that the Winter Park Town Council sees the lack of housing as a crisis that threatens the town’s character, culture, economy and ability to provide services.

“We applaud your efforts to allow us to be more fully included in federal housing programs and we hope that further investigating local area-median incomes will also help us better serve our community moving forward,” Kutrumbos’ statement read.

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