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PSCDC earns Community Based Development Organization designation


The Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC) has been designated a Community Based Development Organization (CBDO) by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Executive Director Emily Lashbrooke updated the PSCDC board on the designation at its June 12 meeting. 

She noted that the PSCDC first applied for the designation over a year ago and was just awarded it this month.

She explained that by becoming a CBDO, the PSCDC will have more funding opportunities and will be able to incentivize builders to provide more affordable housing options in the community.

Lashbrooke noted there are only five CBDOs in the state, and the PSCDC is the only one in the southwest region of Colorado.

“That’s the position we wanted to take on workforce housing,” she said.

At a June 18 work session of the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC), Lashbrooke elaborated on the CBDO designation and the options it will create for affordable housing in the community.

She stated that the CBDO designation will allow the PSCDC to work with developers of multifamily housing projects in the community, becoming a partial “1 percent” owner of the project and being able to apply for grants to support infrastructure for these projects.

Lashbrooke indicated that such an arrangement would also require the developer to make 51 percent of the housing units affordable housing according to the affordable housing guidelines.

“So, it’s all starting to stack together to attack affordable housing,” she said. “I think we’re making great strides there to be able to do it fair and equitably and add a more ample supply to our community.”

Commissioner Veronica Medina commented that it is “commendable” that the PSCDC is “championing” affordable housing, but questioned if the Archuleta County Housing Authority (ACHA) should work to gain the CBDO designation.

She added that she feels the PSCDC’s focus is on business and economic development and questioned if there could be “more than one champion.”

“I don’t think, in long term, that this … should be [the PSCDC’s] first objective,” Medina said, referring to affordable housing creation.

She added that she feels that this work is more appropriate for the ACHA and that, in many communities, the housing authority leads this work.

However, Medina added that the PSCDC helped lay the groundwork for work on affordable housing that another organization, such as the housing authority, could pick up if the PSCDC stopped working on housing.

She also questioned when the PSCDC will “stop doing housing,” noting that the organization’s current work will not solve the housing crisis and commenting that the ACHA could help with this work.

Lashbrooke stated that she would discuss these issues with the ACHA and that she will need to learn from the state if the CBDO designation is transferable or if the PSCDC and the ACHA could partner to work under the CBDO.

Commissioner Ronnie Maez commented that he would not want the PSCDC and the ACHA to be “competing against each other.”

Lashbrooke stated that she would not want this either and that the PSCDC, as the CBDO, and the ACHA can accomplish different things, making partnership more feasible.

Medina commented that her focus is on the organizations “working better together” and finding the best ways to partner.

Lashbrooke explained that the PSCDC is working closely with the ACHA and that the PSCDC has to accept the CBDO designation, modify its bylaws and add a seat to its board in the next 90 days prior to being able to take actions using the CBDO.

She added that she would keep the ACHA informed about this process and discuss ways it could be engaged.

Medina then raised the question of what the capacity of ACHA is and how many deed restrictions it could manage.

Maez commented that this would depend on funding and that increased activity for the ACHA would also likely lead to additional funding.

Medina stated that the conversations between the PSCDC and the ACHA need to continue, and Lashbrooke concluded by emphasizing the potential for the CBDO to make a “huge difference for the affordable piece of our housing.”