Afforable Housing

Sep 172003
Authors: James Baetke

File under: news/state and regional

The 2000 Census shows the poverty rate in Larimer County to be at 9.3 percent, but with the efforts of the city of Fort Collins, non-profit organizations and federal funding, the hope is that the statistic will be even smaller.

According to Fort Collins Affordable Housing Director Maurice Head there are three sources to funding that assist in a variety of programs aimed to house low-income individuals and families. The first source of funding comes from the city’s general fund at about $890,000 per year, while two other funding sources come from the federal government.

“We provide assistance to organizations to assist with their projects,” Head said. “We try to target non-profit organizations.”

Although funding goes toward building affordable homes and apartments for the needy, the Fort Collins Affordable Housing division also lends help to homeless shelters, AIDS projects and preventative healthcare.

City documents show that $153,000 was given to the city by the Community Development Block Program and $378,000 by the federal HOME program. These funds were allocated to such organizations as the Catholic Charities Northern and the Northern Colorado AIDS project.

The Fort Collins Housing Authority also benefits from city funding. The program is built upon its mission to promote adequate and affordable housing to individuals and families in need including public housing and section 8 vouchers, which pay for all or part of a persons rent depending on their income.

Additional recipients of funding lie with programs like Care Housing Inc. where apartments are offered to low income families and seniors.

“Receiving aid from the state and local levels are a crucial part of helping out families who have no money,” said Jared Lorn, a Fort Collins resident.

Neighbor to Neighbor, known for relocating mobile home residents who were left homeless in the Fort Collins Flood of 1997, is also a benefactor of city and state funds. The program’s mission is to empower people and promote affordable housing opportunity through counseling, education, outreach and partnering with the community.

Margaret Tooley is a Fort Collins resident who is all too familiar with being near homelessness. She took advantage of city programs to help assist in her monthly bills. Today, Tooley is an advocate in assisting low-income families with loans, grants and federal funding.

The Fort Collins Affordable Housing Department allocates between $1-1.2 million a year on low income housing related issues and projects.

The 2000 census also reports 6.8 percent of children in Larimer County live in poverty. This is better than Colorado’s average of 10.8 percent and the U.S. average of 16.1 percent. Around 4 percent of Larimer County seniors over 65 live in poverty (1,017 individuals). The state average was 7.4 percent and the national average was 9.9 percent.

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