Board of Trustees and Foundation designate $1M for housing program as part of multiprong approach to housing crisis
The Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees and the Fort Lewis College Foundation Board of Directors each proposed $500,000 investments for a down payment assistance program for faculty and staff, an initial step in the College’s long-term commitment to increase access to affordable housing for students and employees.
On December 17, 2021, the FLC Board of Trustees passed a resolution in support of the down payment assistance program, proposing a $500,000 investment in the program. Additionally, the FLC Foundation Board approved its intent to partner with the College on this strategy at its December 9, 2021, meeting, also proposing a $500,000 cash infusion to the initiative.
This initial $1,000,000 investment will be structured into down payment assistance in the coming months. The purpose of the program is to benefit qualifying Fort Lewis College faculty and staff with the goal of supporting attainable homeownership.
“We know how critical it is to develop a portfolio of strategies to address the housing needs of our community,” says Richard Kaufman, chair of the Board of Trustees. “This proposed assistance program is just one possible solution in a line of forthcoming initiatives that we look forward to reviewing and supporting.”
Addressing the housing crisis
Fort Lewis College students and employees face a daunting housing challenge, one that has always been complex because of the scarcity of affordable housing in Durango and that is now being exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Faculty and staff who have chosen FLC and Durango as their home have experienced rising costs for homeownership and now students are feeling the effects of exorbitant rental prices in town.
"Housing availability and affordability have become significantly more complicated for the students and employees that call Durango home. We are committed to easing these burdens through not only this proposed assistance program but by acting on other long-term strategies that prioritize our students as well as faculty and staff."
JULIE LEVY DUVALL
“Housing availability and affordability have become significantly more complicated for the students and employees that call Durango home,” says Trustee Julie Levy Duvall. “We are committed to easing these burdens through not only this proposed assistance program but by acting on other long-term strategies that prioritize our students as well as faculty and staff.”
The College’s strategy for addressing the housing crisis has become a multipronged approach that assists the faculty and staff who want to live and work here and brings the cost of living down for our students.
With the pandemic and resulting rental market price increases hitting students in unexpected ways, FLC stepped in with responsive short-term strategies. With on-campus residence halls at 100% capacity, the College partnered with 1304 Apartments and La Quinta Inn & Suites to accommodate students who wanted on-campus housing with an affordable off-campus apartment or a subsidized room option at the hotel.
Going forward, FLC is actively pursuing strategies to build more housing on campus. The College is currently evaluating proposals for an owner’s representative who will partner in developing on-campus housing for both students and employees. Due to building lead times, this solution won’t be realized immediately, but the College expects the need for housing to only increase in the time of construction. The College intends to leverage the resources at our disposal to build below-market-rate housing and pass those savings on to our students.
Additionally, a unique opportunity exists for FLC to work with local partners, specifically local government and others in the education sector, to identify and develop housing partnerships. These opportunities are currently being explored but demonstrate a shared commitment to bold solutions.