Affordable housing consistently rises to the top of issues that voters have expressed concern about. Depending on which organization you ask, El Paso County is looking at a shortage of between 25,000 to 100,000 affordable units in the next couple of years! Affordable housing is the most pressing concern for our working families as they are steadily being priced out of the market.
While the Not In My Back Yard crowd is very vocal about their concerns about affordable units going up in their neighborhood, the county can adopt a "land value insurance program" where housing prices are protected from the perceived impact of having an affordable housing unit in their neighborhood. These types of programs have been used quite successfully to preserve the value of homes in an area that has experienced factors where the perceived value may be diminished.
El Paso County must also establish Deed-Restricted Homeownership - a mechanism for preserving the long-term affordability of units that have had their priced reduced below market values through a government or philanthropic subsidy, inclusionary zoning or affordable incentive. Deed restrictions help to protect the investment that affordable housing offers by implementing resale restrictions that are attached to the deed and may be enforced over a period of many decades. Buyers of deed-restricted properties are typically allowed to retain some, but not all, of the benefits of home price appreciation, therefore assuring that the affordability of the unit is passed onto the next buyer when they sell.
Deed restrictions also prevent the predatory practices of investment companies who see an opportunity to profit off of purchasing affordable units and then selling the unit at inflated prices, thus realizing a dramatic increase in home value and reducing the stock of affordable housing units in an area.
Inclusionary zoning is another powerful tool in a county's toolbox that allows for a type of zoning that includes units within a development for low and moderate income families. This type of zoning ensures that the zoned lots remain affordable units despite changes in ownership, and often come with incentives for builders like special tax considerations and the waiving of certain fees to help bring up the profitability of the developer while ensuring quality affordable housing units.