By Bill Hudson
Special to The SUN
The staff and board of the local nonprofit organization Pagosa Housing Partners — also known as PHP — have been working for the past several months on a new program aimed at addressing the ongoing housing crisis in Archuleta County.
The new RoomConnect program will be introduced to the community at a public gathering on Wednesday, June 19, at Higher Grounds Coffee, 189 Talisman Drive.
RoomConnect aims to match Pagosa homeowners who have empty bedrooms and who may be interested in renting out those rooms with potential renters. The introductory, informational program will be held from 5 to 6:15 p.m. at the coffee shop. All interested citizens are invited. The program is free and there’s no obligation to participate in the program.
RoomConnect is one of the housing programs sponsored by the Town of Pagosa Springs through its recently adopted Roadmap to Affordable Housing housing plan. PHP has been contracted by the town to manage RoomConnect, along with five other local housing efforts.
The housing crisis in Archuleta County is reflective of similar issues facing communities all around Colorado and the western U.S. The RoomConnect program is similarly reflective of home-sharing programs that are cropping up around the nation to address the lack of affordable housing, and that have been successful in matching the needs of homeowners and workers in other communities.
A survey completed last year by PHP suggests that Archuleta County is lacking in housing options for workers at various income levels, including low-wage, medium-wage and even high-wage employees.
Meanwhile, studies by Region 9 Economic Development District and Economic and Planning Systems have suggested that many homes in Archuleta County are occupied by just one or two people and may have available, empty bedrooms which could provide income to the homeowners while providing housing for local employees.
Benefits to the homeowner could include help with chores like gardening, snow shoveling and general household maintenance and upkeep — as well as friendship and companionship. Sharing of chores, if desired, is an independent arrangement made between the homeowner and renter.
The public is cordially invited to learn about this innovative program on Wednesday, June 19, at Higher Grounds Coffee. You can also learn more about PHP at the website pagosahousingpartners.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bill Hudson