Tonight, as many of us crawl into our comfy beds, others in Pagosa Country will be crawling into tents and sleeping on the hard ground. Some will be sleeping in their vehicle.
Neither of these options are because they like to sleep in cars or prefer camping on the hard ground to sleeping on a comfortable Sealy mattress, but because our community is faced with a housing crisis and our friends, neighbors and co-workers have found themselves homeless.
People are sleeping in sheds, on friend’s couches and just about anywhere they can find to rest with the lack of housing available.
One group in town is compiling a survey to help define the problem.
Pagosa Housing Partners (PHP) is conducting a survey of area citizens, whether or not you have a housing issue. The group hopes to get a sense of how many Pagosans are without permanent housing, and also how many are paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing.
A similar survey was done a few years ago by PHP. Hopefully, this year’s survey data won’t just sit in a drawer or live on some newly designed website, but will actually generate action to solve our local housing crisis.
You can find the survey at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/D9ZKC6J.
The survey consists of 23 questions including your age, gender, where you live, how long you’ve lived in the area and the geographical area where you work. You will need to know how far you commute to work. You will identify what your current housing situation is: single-family home, condo/townhouse, apartment, mobile home, RV or tiny home, car, tent or other.
Next, you will describe the makeup of your household. How many kids? Roommates? Other relatives?
You are then asked to provide the total number of people in your household and describe your residential arrangement. Do you own your home? Do you have a one-year lease or longer? Are you renting month-to-month?
The next question asks what your monthly housing costs are, including utilities.
Then you will be asked to provide information about your monthly income range. You are also asked about your employment situation.
Next, the survey focus turns to satisfaction regarding your living situation. Are you very dissatisfied, neutral or very satisfied?
If you are not satisfied with your current living situation, they want to know why. Is your housing too small? Too large? Too expensive? Landlord neglecting repairs? Neighborhood conflicts? Does your housing need repairs that you cannot afford? Do you have transportation issues? Is your housing overcrowded? Do you have roommate conflicts or inconsistent housing?
Question 16 focuses on the cost of various housing options and you will rank your preferences pertaining to the following: single-family home, condo/townhouse, apartment, sharing with roommates, a place to park your RV/tiny house, dormitory or shipping container home.
The next question focuses on ranking payment options. Do you prefer making month-to-month payments? One year or longer lease or ownership?
Question 18 focuses on challenges you may be facing:
• Can’t find a place I can afford
• Place I rent being sold or on the market
• Rent increase
• Place I rent being converted to vacation rental
• High utility bills or increased property taxes
• Poor Internet service
The survey then asks if you are considering moving away from Archuleta County.If you are considering moving, and your reasons are related to housing choices and/or affordability, you are then asked to rank those reasons. They include:
• Lack of housing
• Lack of job opportunities
• Low wages
• Lack of transportation options
• Lack of housing that suits my lifestyle
• Poor Internet service
• Pets not allowed
At this point, you are nearly done with the survey.
You will then answer whether or not you are aware of the HomesFund.org mortgage assistance and homebuyer education program or the RoomConnect room-sharing program at PagosaHousingPartners.org.
You can provide any comments you might have and that’s it. You are finished. Next it is up to PHP to crunch the data and make that data available to organizations working to solve the current housing crisis in our community so that others can also sleep in a comfortable bed with a roof over their head.
Terri Lynn Oldham House