May 2021, Article by Scott Harrison of KRDO

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — A relatively new group told the City Council that the limited availability of affordable housing in the city is now at a crisis, and requires more drastic and immediate action. At least two council members agreed with the assessment Monday provided by the Affordable Housing Collaborative (AHC) during a council work session.

The AHC is a group of five people who formed in 2019 to do more in-depth research into the city’s lack of affordable housing — defined as housing that costs more than 30% of a person’s annual income.

Affordable housing, according to the AHC, is limited because of population growth, lack of housing availability, increased costs of building materials, growing costs for rental properties and single-family homes, and a reluctance by many developers to consider building other types of housing such as condominiums and townhomes.

Fees charged to developers and homebuilders by local governments is another factor mentioned in the affordable housing crunch. Although the city is meeting Mayor John Suthers’ 2018 goal of building at least 1,000 affordable housing units annually, the AHC is going beyond existing channels to get more individuals involved in resolving the crisis.

“We’d like to get individuals, businesses and institutions that own land to donate it,” AHC member Randy Scott said. “Then we can connect them with a developer and build an affordable housing project. Having the land donated keeps the cost of a project more affordable.”

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