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Explain to us your own values about community and the need for affordable housing.
I believe that everyone deserves to live in the community where they work; not segregated to an undesirable corner of a municipality but rather integrated into its fabric and identity.
Do you know what the affordable housing goal is for Erie, and do you believe the Town’s efforts will meet those affordable housing needs?
Erie has set a 12% goal for inclusionary housing. Given we have an existing inventory of over 8,000 rooftops of which only a handful of affordable/attainable units, I do not believe the Town’s efforts will be sufficient to meet those needs. With the cooperation of the home building industry, we must do something dramatically different to address this crisis.
What are the impacts on families when housing for young people is unaffordable in our area? Do you think this can be prevented through policy changes and funding? If so, what programs, and what level of funding would this require?
A 2020 Pew study reported that a majority of young adults were living with their parents, at the highest rates ever measured. The dramatic increases in home prices, compounded by limited inventory and predatory investors make it increasingly difficult for young families to own a home and build a positive net worth. Aggressive policies and programs to increase inventory, limit investor market manipulation, and stabilize rents will be required. I’m troubled by the prospect of rental assistance programs that only benefits landlords and not their tenants; I’d much rather fund affordable home ownership programs that generally incentivize individual home ownership.
Would you support a program to create accessory dwelling units that could remain affordable?
Yes! We have zoning in parts of Erie that allow for ADUs, and I would like to work with home builders to increase their presence in Erie.
Would you support changing single-family zoning to allow for more mid-density housing such as townhomes and duplexes on lots that have room for them?
As an elected official would you take a leadership role on this?
What do you think are the impacts to our community and our environment when the vast majority of workers commute from elsewhere? What role can affordable housing play in eliminating those impacts?
This excessive commuting puts a strain on our infrastructure, our wallets, our quality of life, and the climate. My goal with affordable housing is to afford everyone that works in Erie the privilege of living in our Town. When our police officers, teachers, and grocery store cashiers can enjoy a short commute (or none at all!) to work in Erie, they’ll be able to save money on transportation and spend more time and money with their families, enjoying all that Erie has to offer.
The business community struggles to find workers because of the high cost of housing. Would you be willing to meet with business leaders to ask them to support an affordable housing program for the town tied to job growth?
Smart community development such as mixed-use, middle-housing, and transit-oriented development can have a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Would you support a scoring system so that proposed developments can be scored for their contribution to reducing greenhouse gasses?
Yes, I would.
What do you understand about the history of racism that has led to people of color owning less property, and thus having less wealth than white people?
Structural racism and redlining have disadvantaged generations of BIPOC Americans from home ownership and a positive net worth. It is tragic that the Covid-19 pandemic has only increased this disparity, where white households now hold 84% of the country’s wealth while only representing 60% of the population .
Would you support procurement policies in housing that create a preference system for minority and disadvantaged businesses?
Would you take a leadership role on this?
What do you think the town can do now to enhance equity as it relates to housing?
We recently hired Alberto De Los Rios as our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager, and we have established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board. I look forward to working with Alberto and the DE&I board, in conjunction with the home building industry, other elected officials, and the community to establish equitable programs. I don’t have a simple answer and expect this will be one of the most challenging aspects to my second term as Trustee.
What role do you think neighbors should be able to have when considering affordable housing in their neighborhood?
They should welcome affordable housing along with the police officers, school teachers, grocery store clerks, and other workers and families that rely upon them. We must learn from the mistakes made in Denver; I have no tolerance for exclusionary zoning policies.
Should Erie create an eviction legal defense program like the one in place in Boulder to help people retain their housing. It’s far less expensive than building new housing?
Recently after the fires, there has been evidence of price gouging by landlords taking advantage of a disaster. Do you think local governments should have a regulatory role in keeping those practices from the community?
Yes. I would support a robust set of policies to limit rental rate increases that would also curtail rising costs to landlords by limiting property tax increases and other costs tied to unrealized property values.
What role do you see for our town government in limiting vacation rentals and investor-owned property as a way of keeping housing costs down?
I know of several families that have supplemented their income by offering vacation rental rooms in their home. While this anecdote is not evidence, I would like the Town to spend some time and effort to understand how vacation rentals affect the housing market and act accordingly. The problems with investor-owned properties are clear; the challenge will be in crafting legislation and policies that adequately protect the vulnerable whilst being legally defensible.
Would you support lifting the state statute banning local governments from addressing high rents through rent stabilization measures of some kind? Are there incentives the town could provide to landlords who keep rents from skyrocketing?
Yes, this 40 year-old statute is very much contrary to the home-rule authority that most municipalities in Colorado enjoy (we hope to join them in the next few years). The housing crisis will not be solved by a uniform approach for all municipalities in Colorado; what works in Pueblo will most likely not be the right solution for Erie. As I mentioned above, policies to limit property tax increases and other costs tied to unrealized property values may be used to incent landlords to keep rental rates in check.