The greater Denver-Boulder region has been experiencing increasing housing prices for some time. This trend is especially present in Boulder County - of which, the Town of Erie boundaries are roughly 50% within Boulder County. The Town, which has some of the newest housing stocks in the region and an unusually low proportion of rental units, understands that each community in the region has a role to play in increasing the supply of affordable housing.
It is important to establish a greater diversity of housing types within the community and to ensure that housing is available to a variety of income levels. While some more affordable housing options have been constructed, low and moderately priced housing options continue to make up a small portion of Erie's housing stock—a widely acknowledged issue.
The Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership, which Erie joined in 2020, set a goal to establish 12% of the region’s housing inventory as permanently affordable by 2035. In 2021, the Erie Board of Trustees adopted Resolution 21-140 to mirror that goal and have 12% of the Town’s housing stock be considered affordable by 2035.
Needs Assessment & Strategy
In 2022, the Town of Erie contracted with the consulting firm czb to assist with an Affordable Housing Needs Assessment and Strategy. The report provides Erie with the information and analysis to firmly establish affordable housing goals and begin taking action.
- If Erie wants to make progress on housing affordability, additional diversity in the community’s housing stock is needed.
- This includes more diversity in tenure (ownership vs. renter), price points, and types of housing, including single-family attached (e.g. townhomes, paired homes) and multi-family housing (e.g. stacked flats, apartments, condos). Affordable housing supply will need to come from new units.
- Erie needs to provide more housing choice for local workers (both existing workers and future workers) and aging homeowners who may have different needs, but want to age in place within the community.
- Development costs (the costs of land, cost of construction, developer financing costs) pose serious housing affordability challenges. Additional density and public subsidies will likely be required to ensure affordable housing units are constructed.
- The Town can make an impact by exploring connected strategies around land use policy, regulations, financial subsidies, and purchasing land for constructing housing.
The Affordable Housing Division hosted an open house in September 2022 for residents to learn more about the future of workforce and affordable housing in the Town of Erie. Staff and consultants created infographics to lead discussions and get the residents opinions on what the Town is in need of. Overwhelmingly, residents were most concerned about:
- Creating a more inclusive community; and
- Lack of housing diversity (majority of homes are single family homes, needing townhomes, duplexes etc.).
During the open house, residents had the opportunity to see what potential tools staff may use to resolve the Town’s housing challenges and how they might work.