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October 11, 2018

First-ever low-income housing tax credit funding approved for affordable housing in Nederland

The tax credits award will help Boulder County Housing Authority serve low income residents in an area where housing assistance is much-needed

Boulder County, Colo. - For the first time ever, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) has approved Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding for a planned affordable housing development. The development will be in the Town of Nederland, where the Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA) plans to construct 26 affordable rental homes for residents in need of this support. The new neighborhood, recently named Tungsten Village by Nederland community members, will be located near downtown on Third Street across from the RTD Park-n-Ride lot, and will serve the area’s low-income workers, seniors, and others struggling with high housing costs.

“We are thrilled that the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority recognized this opportunity for a mountain community where over 70% of the population spends more than a third of their income on housing,” said Frank Alexander, Director of Boulder County Department of Housing & Human Services (HHS), which includes BCHA. “Over the next several decades, Tungsten Village will provide important supports for hundreds of families and individuals who make up the fabric of the Nederland community. This will also help ensure that many of the community’s teachers, first responders, café workers, child care providers, and seniors can live in the community in which they work or simply want to remain.”

The Tungsten Village proposal was one of just 15 tax credit applications approved out of 33 submitted to CHFA. Low Income Housing Tax Credits generate funding through a public-private partnership with investors, and are one of the primary tools used to construct affordable housing today.

The mechanisms of 9% tax credit funding will also allow Tungsten Village to serve residents earning 30% or less of the Area Median Income. This means that for a family of four earning up to $33,000 per year, a three bedroom apartment would have a maximum monthly rent of just $867. As is true for residents of other BCHA-built affordable housing, the rent price also includes utilities. Other income ranges will also be served by the housing.

The need for this help in Nederland is clear: each year, Boulder County HHS supports more than half of the area’s residents with free or low-cost health coverage and one-quarter with food assistance. The high cost of housing is also affecting Nederland businesses, schools, and emergency service providers, which are finding it increasingly difficult to retain staff to serve the mountain community due to a lack of affordable housing.

“Housing affordability is a significant issue in our community, particularly for teachers, essential service providers and working families,” says Nederland Mayor pro tem Julie Gustafson. “The Nederland Board of Trustees gave the Town’s approval for this project because we know it is a critical part of housing our community and keeping our town vibrant.”

Local community partners recognize the need for more permanently affordable housing options in Nederland, and have worked closely with HHS on the Tungsten Village development. “The Nederland Community Church sanctuary was built 103 years ago, literally as a safe place to sleep for local workers. We have been trying to care for our neighbors ever since,” explains Hansen Wendlandt, Pastor of the Nederland Community Presbyterian Church. “For this generation, that means wholeheartedly supporting the creation of good housing for workers, families, and seniors in need.”

Boulder County HHS staff also worked with community partners, Nederland residents, and town officials for over two years on a rigorous design and engagement process for the proposed housing to ensure that Tungsten Village reflects the community. Nearly 225 area residents sent postcards to the Town Board supporting the proposal. This broad community involvement helped make the case for funding support from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

“We are so happy to see Nederland finally getting the housing assistance it so desperately needs,” said Dennis Whalen, Community Service Coordinator for the Nederland Food Pantry. “The number of community members coming to the pantry for help with food has doubled in just the past few years, and many of them are struggling to stay here. These 26 new affordable homes will serve many of these families and individuals over time.”

The creation of Tungsten Village is also part of a broader regional plan to address the critical need for stable, affordable housing. The Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership—a collaborative of nine jurisdictions—recently created a plan with a goal of ensuring that 12% of all housing is affordable to a diverse mix of low and middle income households by 2035. When complete, Tungsten Village will double the amount of affordable housing that currently exists in Nederland. Tungsten Village represents an important step in an ongoing effort to reach 12% housing affordability in Nederland.

Construction on Tungsten Village could begin later in 2019. Boulder County HHS will announce dates for upcoming community meetings that will be used to share the details of the housing and eligibility requirements for those who may be interested.

More information about Tungsten Village, including links to sign up for updates, is available at www.NederlandHousing.org.