Mesa County lacks affordable housing for teachers

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado (KREX) – Tuesday night at R-5 High School, during the school board meeting Tom Parrish and George Rau, the leaders of School District 51’s New Affordable Teacher Housing Exploration Committee expressed the issue of affordable housing for teachers in Mesa County.

“What we found when we went through this is that everyone (around Colorado) is providing affordable housing to their employees, whether it is nurses in hospitals or teachers in schools,” Parrish said. “The big ‘aha’ was that if we do not do that, we will be behind because everyone else is jumping on this initiative.”

The Affordable Teacher Housing Exploration Committee also includes Abe Herman of Grand Junction City Council, Christi Reece of Christi Reece Group, Phil Onofrio, a retired school economist, Adam Roy of Headwaters Housing Partners, District 51 administrative staff, Eric Anderson and Gi Woodard-Moon and community member Lonny White.

The Grand Community Development Committee, Cherry Creek Mortgage, Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority, Crested Butte Land Trust, Home Loan Bank, Legacy Appraisals, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Mesa County Habitat for Humanity, District 51 Foundation, Headwaters Housing Partners, FCI, Servitas and the Mesa County Community Development Committee are just a few of the organizations the committee has used so far for greater collaboration.

According to Parrish and Raus, the committee’s next stages are to create a standing committee for teacher and staff housing, develop guidelines for moving forward in a fast and efficient and accessible way, carry out detailed analyzes for teacher and staff housing and requirements. for participation, finding land for development, exploring the possibilities for construction financing, establishing program parameters and designing and developing projects that maintain long-term affordability.

District 51 Hawthorne Townhomes at 410 Hill Ave. in Grand Junction served as an example of what potential affordable housing for teachers and staff like, according to the two.

The school district owns the 0.5-hectare plot, which contains departmental facilities. In return for less privacy and space, the committee’s chosen townhouse typology combines less maintenance requirements in typical city center residential areas at a cheaper price range than a traditional single-family home. To allow for ownership instead of renting, each apartment would be condominium size along with any storage and parking spaces.

The committee’s upcoming phases of examining the Hawthorne property for teacher owner-occupied housing will be to look at past cases and further study the unit fittings as well as storage and parking facilities. The committee will also conduct an initial consultation with both the Grand Junction Planning and Zoning Department to analyze the concept of the project and its feasibility.

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