By Amy Reinholds
The Housing Recovery Task Force (HRTF) will hold a “Replacement Housing Options” meeting is this Saturday, March 8, from 9 a.m. to noon at Rogers Hall.Community House (Second Avenue, next to the entrance to Bohn Park). The meeting is in an open-house format, and gives the public an opportunity to learn about parcels of land that are possible options for replacement housing in Lyons.
The Lyons Board of Trustees asked the HRTF to identify and evaluate parcels of land in Lyons and in the Lyons Planning Area that could be options for replacement housing after the flood. The Board of Trustees will then decide how to proceed with grant applications for federal housing funding.
This meeting will give the public a chance to interact and ask questions before the information goes to the Lyons Planning and Community Development Commission, the Lyons Sustainable Futures Commission, and to the Lyons Board of Trustees for a decision.
The public can learn about background information and research that the HRTF used to evaluate housing options, including the Town of Lyons Housing Needs Assessment, which showed that 145 households are still displaced, and 115 want to return. About 68% of still-displaced households earn less than 60% of the area median income (AMI) for Boulder County, or below $46,140 for a 2-person household.
There will be maps of sites considered, scoring and pros and cons for each parcel, and facts about the grant applications for federal disaster relief funds that can be used for housing: the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), also known as the 404 program. Presentations will also include background information explaining what the Boulder County Housing Authority can offer as a master developer of new housing, working with a mix of housing types and private developers.
The meeting will also show examples of types of housing that could be part of the future developments after funding is secured. This inspiration area will include a graphic presentation from CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning students and other presentations from groups interested in cohousing, microhousing, and permaculture.
While the public is invited to look to the future of housing in Lyons, Saturday’s meeting also will address immediate needs for people who have been dealing with high housing costs after the flood. Representatives with the Boulder County Housing Counseling Program will be there to help residents learn about housing cost assistance that is available to offset monthly housing costs: from higher rent, or from situations of paying mortgages and rent at the same time.
The Housing Needs Assessment survey showed that before the flood, about 26% of Lyons households were paying more than 30% of their income for housing costs (both renters and owners), which is considered housing-cost-burdened. After the flood, that percentage has increased to 36% of Lyons households. Funds available through the Boulder County Housing Counseling program provide cost-burdened households an option to avoid spending savings that might be used for future down payments and to avoid falling into debt because of the flood. Representatives from the Housing Counseling programs will provide information, answer questions, and schedule future appointments to evaluate housing cost needs.
The Housing Recovery Task Force (HRTF) has a new web page at http://www.lyonsrecovery.com/housing-task-force.html, where you can get more information about what the task force is doing, including this important meeting on Saturday.