Little girl and family dog in bedroom
Mom and daughter in front of house
Community housing development
Mom and kids moving into house
New housing development
Mom and daughter in front of front door


The rural, 3-county region served by the Telluride Foundation is facing a housing crisis. There is not enough affordable housing to accommodate our workforce. The median home price in the town of Telluride is
37x the median household income and the median home price in San Miguel County is 16x the average San Miguel County household income.


We address the affordable housing problem through 3 primary focus areas: building new housing through Rural Homes, managing the Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF), and leading convenings with government and private stakeholders.

Rural Homes builds workforce housing by utilizing a model that integrates donated land, off-site home construction, low-cost construction financing, and low-cost mortgages. They work closely with regional communities and have assembled a coalition of statewide public, private and philanthropic partners to support their efforts.

All the homes built by Rural Homes are deed restricted which protects their affordability in perpetuity and specifically serves families whose income falls within 60-120% of the region’s Area Medi Income. By adding new building stock to a housing market that is saturated with older homes, or inflated by vacation markets, we are addressing – head on – key determinants of public health and long-term economic sustainability in the region.

Our HOF provides forgivable loans to qualified buyers, and grants to renters moving into housing they’ve obtained. These forgivable loans are intended to lend a hand in the form of financial support for those ‘last mile’ housing acquisition costs: down payment or closing costs for buyers, or first/last month rent or security deposit for renters.

We take a leadership role in the region to help bring to bear the resources necessary to address our housing needs. This includes hosting housing forums and other events to promote efficiency, collaboration, and action.


Rural Homes has constructed 24 affordable homes in Norwood and 14 in Ridgway. 21 homes are under construction in Ouray, 2 of which are being finished out to function as licensed in-home day care centers.

Since its inception in 2019, the Housing Opportunity Fund has awarded $202,000 to 82 families in the region, helping them secure affordable home ownership and rental housing.

We hosted an East End Housing Forum in 2023 which gathered 20+ professionals from local and county governments, Telluride Ski & Golf, the primary regional employer, the school district, and hospital district. The event provided a unique opportunity for all organizations working on affordable housing to speak openly, not only about their successes, but challenges as well. Since the Forum was hosted, multiple smaller meetings have taken place between many stakeholders creating an environment of creativity and collaboration.


It’s so awesome to be in the heart of Ridgeway where we are close to the library, park, and school where I teach. I came here 15 years ago and always dreamed of owning a home in town where I could be part of the community.

-Nancy Madsen, Wetterhorn Development homeowner and Housing Opportunity Fund recipient