Chaffee Housing Authority Survey Results Provide Feedback on Affordability, Short-term Rentals from those Affected by Housing Crisis

The newly formed Chaffee Housing Authority recently issued a survey to solicit input from the local community on housing affordability and policy.

As an organization focused on increasing access to affordable housing, the CHA believes its work must be directly informed by those directly affected by the current housing crisis – which is characterized by expensive rents and home prices, and lack of safe, accessible options for individuals and families. The survey will help to inform the organization’s strategic planning process and policy goals, which are being developed this fall.

To ensure those voices were represented, the survey was primarily aimed to gather input from individuals and families facing housing challenges. The survey garnered responses from nearly 300 respondents, most of whom are “housing burdened.”

Household Size and Location. 93 percent listed Chaffee County as their primary residence. 56 percent of respondents live in Salida, and 30 percent listed Buena Vista as their home. 58 percent of respondents were younger than 40, with the input of the 60+ population not well represented in the responses. Most respondents were part of smaller households, with 79 percent having household sizes of three people or less.

Annual Household Income and Professions. Most respondents fell on the mid- to-lower end of the income scale. For 70 percent of respondents, total household income was less than $61,000 per year. A wide variety of professions were represented among respondents, with 35 percent working in health care, 25 percent business owners or professionals, and 15 percent in restaurants or service industry.

Renting vs. Owning. In terms of current living situation, 54 percent of respondents currently rent, with 25 percent indicating that they own a home. 10 percent live in a trailer, car, or tent.

Housing Aspirations and Affordability. When asked about their aspirations, 72 percent of respondents said they want to buy a home. 160 people (56 percent) also indicated that they do not think that dream is realistic in Chaffee County. Only 18% see Chaffee as an affordable place to live.

Local Solutions. When asked about solutions, 82 percent believed there needs to be more housing available, with a focus on affordable homes to rent or buy. 90 percent of renters said their major challenge is that housing is too expensive. The survey elicited 203 write-in comments, including a number of policy suggestions, including a focus on regulating short-term rentals and “progressive, aggressive housing reform that prioritizes the people that work and live here.” More Results. Click here to see full results of the survey and input from participants. Full website for results: https://www.housinghealthchaffee.org/cha

The CHA deeply appreciates the input from community members who have taken the time to inform its work by participating in this survey. The CHA is an independent public organization, formed in October 2020 by a joint agreement between Chaffee County, Salida, and Buena Vista. The organization is focused on affordable housing across the County. Find out more at www.housinghealthchaffee.org/cha and @ChaffeeHousingAuthority on Facebook.

Dan R
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