Affordable housing is defined as housing and utility payments falling under 30 percent of monthly household income. Colorado’s Durango County Planning Commissioners see manufactured homes as being a good fit for that important need, the Pine River Times tells MHProNews.
Challenges in their market include the rising costs of conventional building, which are outpacing incomes – an issue that could describe other parts of the nation, not just Durango County.
“I have kids, I want them to be able to afford to live here,” County Planner Jason Meininger stated, as quoted in the Durango Herald. “The housing affordability gap has grown, not shrunk. This is an opportunity to turn the tides to create more affordable housing options for a variety of income levels. There’s the saying, ‘drive until you qualify.’ For some, that means leaving the state.”
Home prices have risen over 15 years, leaving any income gains in the dust. Median home price has risen 63 percent in the county, and 73 percent in the city of Durango, while median household income has increased only 48 percent. Average annual needs for new homes are projected to go from 300 to 700 homes a year.
The Times noted that the public sector must commit to infrastructure requirements necessary to make manufacturing home communities a reality. Meanwhile, MH Industry companies – that meeting attendees and local media incorrectly referred to as “mobile homes” and “mobile home parks (sic)” – need to further their efforts of bringing a positive awareness to the industry.
Meeting attendee Dick Norton said, “Private industry hasn’t done a good job selling this to the public… To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a new mobile home park in the county or (Durango) since I’ve been here, 30 years.”
Planning Commission Chair Jim Tencza verbalized commitments from his administration to support manufactured homes, as they are a viable option to fill the gap of affordable housing units needed annually.
“We are encouraging things instead of saying you can’t do that,” Tencza said.
Points that industry professionals would note include the hurdle of up-front costs, mainly: roads, utilities and general infrastructure that will act as the foundation for realizing MH communities, far overshadow the cost of public fees. With both sides working together, the vision of affordable housing that fulfills the needs for the working class can become a reality.
Durango has clearly taken a different and better approach on this issue than a recent case reported out of Austin, where NIMBY was very much in evidence. ##
(Photo credit: Guardianwp)
Submitted by Frank Griffin, to Daily Business News for MHProNews.