Dear Editor:

There has been a lot of misinformation about Chaffee Housing Trust. Here are the facts:

By the end of 2021, the Chaffee Housing Trust will have provided 30-plus affordable homes to local Chaffee County families and workers who are priced out of the market, with at least nine more in 2022.

Who is the CHT?

• A board of industry volunteers who tackle the affordable housing issue in Chaffee County without compensation, no less than one-third of which are CHT homeowners.

• A local employer with two full-time staff and two Americorps volunteers who are paid reasonable salaries for their time and efforts.

What is the CHT?

The CHT is a locally run nonprofit that:

•Was founded 2007 in response to the affordable housing issues.

• Meets state and federal requirements of transparent financial reporting.

• Reinvests all proceeds in the organization’s mission – to provide affordable home ownership to low-income households.

• Obtains grants and loans to lower the purchase price of a property and cover the gap between the cost of building housing and what local workforce can afford.

• Retains ownership using the community land trust model.

• Holds title to the land as assets on their balance sheet exclusively for the long-term benefit of the community; the property cannot be sold or used for another purpose than affordable housing.

How has the CHT served Chaffee County?

• By garnering over $500,000 in loans to pay deposits and to backstop mortgages so households can access home ownership instead of renting.

• By building an inventory of permanently affordable homes for ownership so low-income families can build social and financial equity leading to intergenerational wealth building.

While there may be some controversy regarding the Chaffee Housing Trust’s rental units and partnership with local municipalities, we hope these facts will clear up that misinformation.

• All homes must be sold to low-income households.

• Higher rents may be applied, but only temporarily, until qualified buyers obtain financing.

• In the upcoming M and Third project, the CHT paid $49,000 for the sewer line changes so the city-owned lot could be developed for affordable housing. The CHT is also responsible for sidewalk and curb and gutter.

• There are no restrictions that the City of Salida cannot accept the benefit of attainable rental housing for city staff who cannot find housing.

• The COVID housing crisis has caused astronomical building cost increases in a matter of months, requiring revised budgeting.

• Unlike traditional developers, the CHT does not realize profits.

There are people who want affordable housing but do not bring productive options to the table and only attempt to tear down Chaffee Housing Trust.

I am and have been available to answer any questions or concerns. However, rather than contact me for a productive discussion some have chosen to use print and social media to baselessly attack our organization. I hope I have addressed each aspect of these erroneous, uniformed attacks.

Read McCulloch, executive director,

Chaffee Housing Trust