COLORADO HEALTH FOUNDATION GRANT TO LAUNCH RURAL HOUSING INITIATIVE Telluride Foundation Working with Local Community Committees to Begin Process of Building Housing

  • Published
  • On February 2, 2021

TELLURIDE, Colo. (Jan. 13, 2020) – Access to affordable housing is the greatest limitation to recruiting new teachers, medical professionals, and government employees and encouraging these essential workers to move to and invest in our communities. “Rural Homes: For Sale, For Locals” is an initiative of the Telluride Foundation aimed at helping to solve this local challenge.  This Rural Homes initiative will build 55 single family homes, spread across three of the communities served by the Foundation: Nucla, Norwood, and Ridgway.

The initiative is a response to the challenge of building new homes in rural Colorado. New construction costs in rural areas can be 40%+ higher than completed appraised values due to inflated labor costs, lower rents, the inability to compete for tax credits, and the lack of capacity in planning, development, and property management. This pilot consolidates a suite of strategies to reduce the price for which homes can be built and sold.

By integrating donated land, prefabricated panelized home design, and low-cost construction finance into a toolkit, the Foundation is restructuring the way rural homes can be financed affordably for our region’s essential workforce. By adding new building stock to a housing market that is saturated with old, dilapidated homes or inflated by vacation markets, the Foundation is addressing – head on – key determinates of public health, inequality, and long-term economic sustainability in the region. The Foundation plans to develop and refine a model that minimizes the cost of building single-family homes so that it can be replicated and scaled across rural Colorado.

The toolkit took a critical leap forward in January when The Colorado Health Foundation (TCHF) announced it would contribute a $2M grant towards the revolving construction loan fund of low-cost capital. TCHF’s mission-aligned funding will be leveraged by interested foundations across Colorado to increase the construction loan pool of available funding. TCHF’s investment will allow the Foundation to test this affordable workforce housing finance solution, which can then be scaled statewide.  The revolving construction fund will be replenished as the Foundation builds and sells homes. It plans to start the project with approximately 15 units in Nucla in the fall of 2021, then begin a project in Norwood six months later in the spring of 2022.

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride and regional community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. 2021 marks 20 years of making more possible through the Telluride Foundation’s commitment to enrich the quality of life of the residents, visitors, and workforce of the Telluride region. The Telluride Foundation is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that makes grants to nonprofits, owns and operates programs that meet emerging and unmet community needs, and makes investments. The Foundation approaches this work through the lens of its core values of inclusion, self-reliance, and innovation. Its work is funded through the generous support of individual donors as well as grants from state and national foundations. The Foundation hopes the community will join it in celebrating its 20th anniversary as it honors the nonprofits, donors, and community members who have all partnered together to achieve a significant positive impact on the region. For more information click on www.telluridefoundation.org.