Guest column: The Confluence development is a step in the right direction

Gail Schwartz
Habitat for Humanity
Gail Schwartz

Community is built from the ground up. Habitat’s track record of building 60 homes in the region over the past 20+ years shows our commitment to our mission of building affordable housing for local workforce families.

Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley continues to lead the way in affordable workforce housing development in one of the most challenging environments seen in decades.

Escalating material costs, labor scarcity, spiraling land costs and long lead times on materials all add up to a costly construction environment. While many for-profit developers continue to pull the plug on affordable projects, Habitat RFV continues to collaborate with communities throughout our region on behalf of the hard-working families who are the lifeblood of the valleys we call home.

Habitat RFV is grateful to have been selected to build an inclusive community at “The Confluence” of Glenwood Springs — 8th and Midland. The challenges of today require that we grasp this opportunity and lend a “hand up” to new homeowners who will put their sweat equity and time into constructing their homes and the homes of their neighbors. The unique partnership that Habitat RFV creates with its homeowners inspires growth and empowers workforce families to reach their dream of homeownership, resulting in a strong community.

The foundation of Habitat RFV’s mission is bringing hope to workforce families as they partner to build affordable, livable, net-zero homes. Habitat RFV neighborhoods house teachers that we send our children to every day; our essential workers that ensure our water is clean and our streets are safe; the health care providers we depend on at our local hospitals and clinics; and the critical staff that keep our local businesses humming. And yet, Habitat RFV can only begin to scratch the surface of this enormous housing need in the Glenwood Springs community.

With any development, there are trade-offs. Habitat RFV’s work developing The Confluence is a case in point: Habitat RFV is building a quality community of eight homes on an infill parcel of land deemed by city leaders to have a tremendous promise given its prime location adjacent to parks, rivers, downtown, and transit, consistent with the Glenwood Springs master plan.

Habitat RFV’s team has done its best to partner with the community by hosting numerous open houses during the design process, meeting with City Council and city staff to incorporate their priorities, and ultimately receiving unanimous P&Z approval. Habitat RFV has incorporated the community’s feedback — including exceeding required parking ratios — in an effort to address concerns and be good neighbors.

We look forward to celebrating The Confluence groundbreaking with the community this October! Please contact us with any questions at

Gail Schwartz is the President of Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley. As a former Colorado State Senator, business owner and community planner, she has a unique understanding of the affordable housing crisis on the Western Slope and in the greater Roaring Fork Valley and is committed to being part of the solution.

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