Four more selected in city’s latest affordable housing lottery |

Four more selected in city’s latest affordable housing lottery

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Pete Fowler

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Red, green, white, yellow and blue bingo balls bounced around a bingo cage in City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, each one representing the chances of an applicant for Glenwood Springs’ affordable housing units.”Shake it up!” one man called out before the roll for a unit he had applied for.Blank stares and silence accompanied the reading of the winning balls for each of the four units in the city’s third affordable housing lottery – none of the winners were present.”At least it’s colorful,” said Geneva Powell of the bingo balls denoting the absent winners. Powell is the director of the Garfield County Housing Authority.But one former winner was still excited. Dathan Flesner, who won at the last lottery, showed up with a digital camera. He said he was there out of curiosity and to offer advice to winners.”They’re going to be thrown into a hurricane,” he said of the resulting documents and financial dealings involved in acquiring ownership of a home.He’s a big fan of his affordable housing unit in the Overlin Park subdivision. He’s been living in it for about four or five months, he said.”It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s absolutely one of the best things that ever happened to me. I’m no longer lighting money on fire to pay for rent. … My wife started a day-care center there.”This time there were four units, ranging from a $178,526 two-bedroom unit to a $245,368 three-bedroom unit. The winners were the Whitehouse family, the Hayward family, the McKibben family and the Gonzales family. There were 13 applicants applying for the units. Some applied for more than one.The city’s housing program requires developers of subdivisions and multifamily housing projects to provide 15 percent of their units as housing that will be sold at below-market rates. Alternatively, they can pay a fee into a city fund for affordable housing.The city made its first unit available under the program in 2005, but only one eligible person applied. Last year, it held a lottery after six eligible residents applied for a townhouse in the Overlin Park subdivision.”It would have been awesome,” Tanny McGinnis said. “I’m a single mom with a teenage daughter. I wouldn’t have to drive the canyon anymore.” McGinnis had applied for two of the units, but unfortunately didn’t win or place near the top. She now lives in Gypsum, working as the public information officer for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. “Because of the cost of housing around here and especially the huge jump in the last six months, I found myself unable to afford housing in the area,” she said. “I have two options: stay in Gypsum and drive into Garfield County – or Battlement Mesa.”McGinnis explained that she’s called on nearly everything available in the last six months, but it seems condos under $200,000 are unavailable and virtually nothing is available for under $250,000 in the area. In Glenwood Springs itself, not even townhouses or condos seemed to be available for under $300,000, she said.But she is thankful that she had the opportunity and might have a chance to win in the future. There’s no lottery scheduled yet, but there will be more as development comes.”Without the housing lottery, there is no opportunity for me to work here full time on a single income and live in Glenwood Springs,” McGinnis said.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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