Housing study looks at smaller communities

Photo by Mechel Meek A recently completed housing study by the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition will help Town of Center officials with the planning of the North 90 acreage when it is annexed.

Results show more affordable housing is needed

CENTER — The San Luis Valley Housing Coalition has completed a housing study on the San Luis Valley, including the Town of Center. According to the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition, “A group of San Luis Valley organizations, businesses, and leaders have come together to work on a solution for the lack of housing and the current high housing costs versus the low wages of our area.

The San Luis Valley is made up of six counties including Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache. Each county, and the communities within, have a different aspect of life depending on the location. Therefore, we cannot treat them all the same. We must create unique solutions to fix each communities housing problems.”

There has been a problem in the past where studies completed were done with inequity where the smaller communities who did not have the financial resources were not able to have their housing studies completed, according to officials. This is the first time a housing market study and an action plan have been completed for the small communities of the Valley. The study assessed the current housing stock and housing needs. They studied 14 of the smaller communities within the San Luis Valley. The purpose of the study was to determine the best locations for future housing and meeting the current and future needs of the communities. The City of Monte Vista was not included in this study due to the large availability of affordable housing. The City of Alamosa will be conducting its housing study and was not included.

The study of the Town of Center was completed in June. According to the Town of Center Housing Publication, “Homes in Center are relatively old and there has been little new construction over the past 20 years. Half (50%) of homes are more than 50 years old. Just under half (47%) are 20 to 50 years old. Only about 3% have been built since 2000.”

The local economy of Center is dominated by jobs in agriculture and associated industries. The study pointed out that a large portion of the workforce in Center commutes from out of the area. This brings up the overwhelming need for affordable housing within the town, the publication stated. This study will help Center and the other communities in the Valley gain grant opportunities, funding, and partnerships with private parties. With the future annexation of the North 90 acreage, Center and the Town Trustees can decide the necessary development goals and housing needs on this land and how to improve the current state of housing.

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