Boulder: Regional Housing Partnership’s Strategies for Diverse Housing

Recently Betsey Martens (Boulder Housing Partners) and Leslie Durgen (Boulder Chamber of Commerce) provided an overview of the Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership’s latest draft of Priorities and Strategies for Ensuring a Diverse Housing Inventory (PASFEADI) for BARA and LAR members. The Partnership is comprised primarily of local government agencies and housing authorities.

According to data presented, 15 percent of the County’s population is “severely cost burdened” when it comes to paying for housing, including 32 percent of renters. The Partnership’s goal is to ensure that 10 percent of all housing in Boulder County is deed restricted, permanently affordable housing by 2035. This equates to 300 new units and the acquisition of 300 existing units of affordable housing annually.

To get to the crux of the matter, how would this lofty goal be met and how would it be funded? The draft includes a laundry list of funding options including a new property tax, inclusionary housing, a sales and use tax and a real estate transfer tax (RETT). Leslie Durgen noted that the Partnership does not expect every community to implement the same strategies, rather the goal is to convince each town to choose options that work best for its community.

There were two takeaways from the presentation. 1) The Partnership wants each community to endorse/adopt the final draft document and 2) The goal is to convince Boulder County voters to approve some type of new revenue by 2020.

The Partnership’s strategy is to work simultaneously on the adoption of PASFEADI and the identification of a politically palatable revenue source (since this will take several years). Note: It will be interesting to see if other Boulder County communities will support such “Boulderesque” priorities and strategies. The “Regional” Housing Partnership doesn’t include agencies from communities other than Boulder and Longmont.

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