Opt in to Prop 123 

Deadline to opt in for the three-year funding cycle, up to $151M, is Nov. 1. 

A recent Colorado Health Foundation study showed housing affordability as a top concern for Coloradans. Housing affordability and the cascade of issues that it creates for our communities are well known. A few weeks ago, the Vail Daily ran an article explaining the affordability gap that exists between what the average Eagle County worker salary can afford versus the median home sale price in Eagle County. The Cliffs notes version – the median home sale price is over $750,000 more than what an average household can afford.  These stories are important as they reinforce why Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley is set on doubling the number of homes we build 2022-24. I am here to remind you that we are making progress, and there are more opportunities for housing solutions on the horizon.

Once-in-a -generation funding from ARPA to date has yielded a $5.2M investment in Eagle County housing infrastructure on three projects totaling 95 units: Habitat Vail Valley’s Third Street, Haymeadow in Eagle and Colorado Mountain College’s apartment project in Edwards. Of those 95 units 59 are affordable homeownership. This is transformational for our community. We are thrilled with this start, but there’s more work to be done.  

What can we do to increase access to affordable housing for our community? The time is now for towns to opt into Proposition 123. Back in November voters passed the ballot initiative funding Prop 123 without raising taxes; the success is dependent upon local governments participating. 

Prop 123 could be a continuation of the once-in-a-generation funding that has allowed us to triple our building efforts in 2023, and to ultimately build 46 new homes over a three-year period. Funding from Prop 123 will help the community work towards solutions along the entire housing continuum.  

We are constantly looking for new solutions and think it’s important to opt in – it gives towns one more tool in their toolkit to fund home construction. Why wouldn’t we take this opportunity for action?  

We urge our local governments to opt in to Prop 123. Access to this funding source is an opportunity that will help us build more units and will open more doors to community partnership. Creating more affordable housing stock is a heavy lift. The opportunity for creative funding is key for future building. We don’t know what we may be forgoing, as a community, if we don’t opt in to Prop 123.  

The deadline to opt in for this three-year funding cycle, up to $151M is Nov. 1. Governments must commit to increasing their affordable housing stock by 3% in each year of the three-year cycle of the program and create a fast-track approval process. Prop 123 is funded from .1% taxable income each year. That’s estimated to be $151 million in 2024. 

Access to incremental and diverse funds allowed Habitat to say yes to new building models; it allowed us to move forward with the modular project on Third Street. Unique partnerships have allowed us to meet more homeowners, to help them build their lives in Eagle County. Creative funding leads to creative solutions and it’s the way of the future.  

I urge the towns and county to be a catalyst to increase access to affordable housing. It’s been a hot topic for at least two decades. Now is the time to act. Together we can make meaningful investments in our housing infrastructure  

 Elyse Howard is the director of development at Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley. She is involved with advocacy efforts to help increase affordable housing stock along the entire housing continuum.