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West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition’s “Good Deeds” buydown program gains traction and dollars

Blake Avenue in Glenwood Springs is home to a mix of single family and multifamily homes. According to the West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition, about half of its potential interested buyers are in Glenwood.
Caroline Llanes
Aspen Public Radio
Blake Avenue in Glenwood Springs is home to a mix of single family and multifamily homes. According to the West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition, about half of its potential interested buyers are in Glenwood.

The West Mountain Regional Housing Coalition is looking for at least $3 million for its “Good Deeds” buydown program, starting with its member local governments.

The program aims to separate employment from affordable housing, increase home ownership opportunities, and increase affordable housing stock. It will provide buyers who work in Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield counties with 30% of a home’s purchase price up front, in exchange for a permanent price-capped deed restriction. The buyer must live in the home as their primary residence.

In Pitkin County, upvalley of and including Basalt, the funds can be used to purchase a home that costs up to $1.5 million. In Garfield, upvalley of and including Glenwood, the limit is $1.2 million. The rest of Garfield County is capped at $800,000.

Last week, Glenwood Springs became the latest to commit money to Good Deeds, agreeing to $200,000 for the program.

With $3 million, the coalition estimates it can buy down 7-15 homes. With $6 million, that figure goes up to 15-30 homes.

Though they had some concerns about the program, Glenwood Springs City Council thought it was one tool in the region’s toolkit to address its housing crisis.

During the April 18 meeting, Councilor Erin Zalinski said, as an employer, this is a huge benefit for people looking to fill open jobs.

“When you want to live somewhere that’s a little bit special, you figure out a way to make it work,” she said. “We are just giving people a leg up. I’m really in support of this as a first step.”

Councilor Mitchell Weimer, agreed and said that this is a “bite of the elephant” in the grand scheme of housing solutions.

“We talk a lot about housing being a regional problem. We now have a bit of a regional approach to the solution here,” he said. “It’s not perfect, but we can’t let that be a downfall… that it’s not perfect: it’s good. Eagle County has shown some validity.”

WMRHC worked with Eagle County on its Good Deeds program, which was introduced in 2023.

The town of Snowmass Village has committed $250,000 and Carbondale has committed $100,000 to WMRHC’s Good Deeds. The city of Aspen has budgeted $450,000 for the program, though it hasn’t officially approved the funds. The coalition is slated to speak with Aspen City Council and Basalt Town Council in May.

Pitkin County has agreed to $2 million for the effort.

Like Glenwood city councilors, Pitkin County commissioners were concerned that the appreciation cap on a property may deter buyers.

During a meeting earlier this year, Pitkin County’s resiliency manager Ashley Perl emphasized that these homes wouldn’t be an investment for the buyers.

“If you are buying a deed-restricted unit, it is different than if you were buying that unit anywhere else in the United States,” she told commissioners. “It’s not about intergenerational wealth, it’s not about turning it over to your kids. It’s about having a home for the time that you are working here, and hopefully retiring.”

Perl is also Pitkin County’s representative in the coalition. She emphasized that WMRHC’s approach is about building a long-term community of workers who want to stay in the region.

“Whether you are providing them with housing or not, they’re not going to be employees here,” she said. “If there’s not good schools, and teachers, and principals that work in those schools, they’re not going to choose to live here, if they can’t get any of the services that they’re used to getting in another community. And so we, as a coalition, are providing a community housing answer.”

On April 18, the coalition told Glenwood city councilors that there has already been significant interest in the program, and about half of their potential buyers are in Glenwood.

Caroline Llanes is a general assignment reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering everything from local governments to public lands. Her work has been featured on NPR. Previously, she was an associate producer for WBUR’s Morning Edition in Boston.
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