After being formed in 2003, voters approved dedicated revenue for YVHA in 2017. Since, the housing authority has leveraged $4.5 million to build 285 units worth $103 million.
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The Yampa Valley Housing Authority was created in 2003 through an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County.
When established, YVHA took on assets held by the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, a private nonprofit founded in 1997 with the mission of addressing housing woes. When formed, a major upside expressed by the city and county of a housing authority over a standard nonprofit was the potential to ask voters for funding in the future.
The housing authority is governed by a Board of Directors that meets monthly. Board members are recommended by a panel of three city council members and the three county commissioners. Those recommendations then are considered for separate approvals by council and commissioners.
From its establishment in 2003 until voters approved a 1 mill property tax for the housing authority in 2017, funding came from the city, county, rent revenues and grants. When asking voters for the property tax, YVHA committed to delivering 600 new affordable units by 2030.
The Housing Authority does not collect taxes from all of Routt County, rather just an area that is roughly the Steamboat Springs Fire Protection District. That boundary goes south to include homes near Lake Catamount, but not as far as Stagecoach. The district goes north to about the Mad Creek area and far enough west to include homes behind Emerald Mountain and along Routt County Roads 33, 42 and 44, but not so far west as to include Milner.
Since voters approved the housing authority’s property tax in 2017, YVHA has created 285 new housing units targeting varying levels of affordability. That added to the 150 units already under the housing authority’s control prior to getting dedicated funding.
The 1 mill property tax is often thought of as roughly $1 million a year, though Routt County’s recent surge in property valuations will spur an increase in revenue.
The 285 units came across four different projects, with the latest of those being Anglers 400. To build those four projects — $103 million worth of housing — YVHA used $4.5 million in mill levy revenue. Nearly $48 million to build these projects came from grants at various levels and housing tax credits.
The rest of the funding comes from the developer of the respective project. YVHA itself is not a developer, rather it forms public-private partnerships to build housing.
“The housing authority is quite good at a few things and we bring in partners that complement what we do well,” YVHA Executive Director Jason Peasley told the Routt County Commissioners in a meeting on Monday. “We essentially utilize (public-private partnerships) to access capital and take on risk, and that is really important for us because it limits the downside risk to the community.”
Peasley added that other housing authorities of a similar size choose to act in more of a developer role, but the YVHA board has always been more “risk averse.”
YVHA now owns eight different properties across Steamboat Springs. That doesn’t include the planned Mid-Valley development, which broke ground last fall and is anticipated to have 84 units for sale and 150 rental units. Currently, YVHA intends to invest $2.3 million of its revenue for the estimated $110 million development. The project has also received about $10 million in state and philanthropic grants.
Other than the Brown Ranch, YVHA is currently working with the city of Steamboat Springs and the U.S. Forest Service on a project on land owned by the federal agency.
How much local money went into recent YVHA projects?
Local Funding: $400,000
Total project cost: $15 million
Local Funding: $525,000
Total project cost: $23.8 million
Local Funding: $1.6 million
Total project cost: $33.2 million
Units: 90 (22 at market rate)
Local Funding: $2 million
Total project cost: $14 million
Top Photo Caption: A graphic depicting the rough locations of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority's properties. (Yampa Valley Housing Authority)