LifestyleReal Estate


Clear Creek County launching affordable housing initiative to help 'dire' situation

"There's a disparity in what houses cost here and what’s affordable for our local workforce"
Clear Creek Co.
Posted at 5:01 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 07:45:47-04

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Anyone who lives or works in Clear Creek County can see firsthand some of the challenges when it comes to housing affordability.

Town leaders in the community are now working on a new affordable housing initiative — A Clear Path Home — to help with that.

Jonathan Cain, the assistant city administrator for Idaho Springs, said part of it includes creating a multi-jurisdictional housing authority, called MJHA for short.

It would include representatives from Clear Creek County, Idaho Springs, Empire, Georgetown and Silverplume.

Clear Creek County launching affordable housing initiative to help 'dire' situation

"There's a disparity in what houses cost here and what’s affordable for our local workforce," Cain said. "We want people to live here. We want people to be able to play here and do all of that stuff in close proximity where they’re not commuting. We want to have kids in our schools — all of those good things that come with great community."

It would also be a one-stop shop for housing resources and referrals and a place where people could find support navigating housing-related programs.

"It's like a $120,000 house is what an average wage-earner here could afford and there are no $120,000 houses truly anywhere anymore," said Amy Saxton, who is the strategic community planning director for Clear Creek County.

Denver7 spoke with resident Autumn Books who said her family has lived in the county for three generations.

“There's absolutely nowhere, no rentals available right now,” she said.

Brooks said the future of her family’s housing is uncertain because the mobile home park she currently lives at might go up for sale unless residents complete a bid to purchase it themselves, which is what she’s hoping for.

If my trailer park sells to someone else — a developer or something like that — we're looking at almost doubling our rent, at which point it's no longer affordable,” added Brooks.

“The housing situation is pretty dire in Clear Creek County. We have declining quality of housing overall, with lots of aging homes,” Cain said. "We really want to support people who work here and make that happen and make sure it stays a community in the future for the kids who want to grow up here. That’s what is really driving our work right now."

The county said rent for a two-bedroom in Clear Creek County is about $1,860 a month, which is 30% above the national average.

The average worker would need to work about 75 to 80 hours a week to pay for housing, according to Saxton and Cain.

"If each of the municipalities can pull their funding, we can find a more sustainable way to carry our community and keep it going," Brooks said.

They’re hoping to create the housing authority as soon as possible if they can get everyone on board.

If you are a Clear Creek County resident and want to shape the future of housing in the community, the county has a survey where you can weigh in on the topic.

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.