Fort Collins is experiencing a severe rental housing shortage which is causing rents to spiral upward and stretching residents’ budgets beyond the breaking point. As of February, the average monthly rent in the area was nearly $1,400 and increasing much faster than the national average. Area newspapers recently reported that the vacancy rate in the area was 0.2 percent, making us second in the nation for lowest vacancy rate. The only way to turn around our unhealthy rental housing situation is to increase the supply of rentals.
The City of Fort Collins is addressing this need by releasing a piece of land from its land-bank program to the Fort Collins Housing Authority for a proposed new development called the Village at Horsetooth, 1605 W. Horsetooth. The city has money from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Funds from the 2013 flood that can be applied to the costs to develop the Village at Horsetooth. CDBG is a one-time, use-it-or-lose-it program.
The Village at Horsetooth would provide 96 apartments (1, 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms) mixed- income, affordable housing for residents with income of 60 percent of the Area Median Income ($46,920 for a family of four). It also would provide a large community green space with walking paths clubhouse, playground, and an enclosed dog run — all designed to fit in well with the surrounding area.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Board approved the proposed Village at its meeting on Oct. 13.
The League of Women Voters of Larimer County commends the city and the Housing Authority for this important step forward in increasing the supply of affordable housing in a thoughtful and neighborhood-friendly way. We look forward to more such developments in the future.
League of Women Voters of Larimer County,
Affordable Housing Team Leader