Grant will pay for apartment repairs |

Grant will pay for apartment repairs

Eagle County got a hand from a federal program to help keep a low-cost housing project looking spiffy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division awarded a $35,034 Housing Preservation Grant to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, a regional lobbying organization also known by its nickname “Northwest COG.” The money will be used to make repairs to the county’s Riverview Apartments in Eagle-Vail.

“This is workforce housing at its finest,” said Gigi Dennis of the Department of Agriculture, known by its acronym, USDA. “The Council of Governments obviously believes in affordable housing for workers.”

This is the second-straight year Eagle County has received the grant for its Riverview project.

Riverview was originally built as a private project under a federal program to build low-cost housing. As the federal program was about to expire, Eagle County bought it and has been operating it ever since.

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The Council of Governments’ Gary Severson had high praise for Eagle County officials who he said saved the project from a private developer’s wrecking ball and moved management under the county’s umbrella. He said Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone deserved credit.

“Tom Stone has been the heart and soul of this thing,” said Severson.

Riverview tenants pay a percentage of their rent and utility bills,

based on their incomes. A federal program picks up the rest of the tab.

“The county makes no money off this,” said Stone. “Everything goes back into the property. We count on grants to complete projects.”

Qualified nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and town and county governments are eligible to apply for funding and in turn, they provide grants or low interest loans to eligible homeowners. The Department of Agriculture grants are used for repairs and maintenance.

“I am very proud that Colorado’s funding allocation was increased in the Housing Preservation Grant program by more than 30 percent this year,” Dennis said. “USDA’s funding coupled with the additional leveraging that the

Northwest COG has done will allow the structural integrity of the complex

not to be threatened due to moisture penetrating the wood.”

The Housing Preservation Grant Program is designed to provide assistance to those who own very-low, or low-income housing, either as homeowners,

landlords or members of a cooperative. Very low income is defined as below 50 percent of the area median income and low income is between 50 and 80 percent of the area median income.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents, Dennis said. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in

home ownership, business development and critical community infrastructure.

Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA’s Web site for at

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