The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority Board of Directors voted Wednesday to formally pass a set of regulatory changes that would give tenants more flexibility to receive wage increases and requalify for their rental units.
The changes went into effect immediately after the unanimous vote. The maximum gross income will be adjusted to 50% of the respective income category, which will be reviewed annually based on the median income of the existing area, according to a memorandum from APCHA staff. The vote follows a May 18 vote to pass the amendments at first reading and two previous discussions about the effects of inflation on APCHA tenants.
“We plan to review this every year, which historically hasn’t been done, but we felt it was important this year to review where those numbers came in and what we see in the inventory,” said Bethany Spitz, assistant. Director of Housing Compliance for APCHA.
The board first discussed the changes at a May 4 meeting after an APCHA resident said in a public comment that he and his wife had been told they could not not requalify for their home because they had received raises and were earning more than their allowable income category. With inflation rising and employers across the valley granting wage increases, the board felt the amendment was necessary.
Board member Rachel Richards, who is also a member of Aspen City Council, asked how APCHA could ensure that privately managed tenancies would be compliant. Spitz said the changes would be implemented across APCHA’s entire inventory, minus ownership units. A discussion on adjusting income categories for property units is scheduled for a future Board meeting.
APCHA does not plan to officially notify residents of the changes, but more information will be posted on its social media pages and website. APCHA expects to continue to hear from residents about the changes, although no one offered public comment to council at Wednesday’s meeting when the opportunity arose.
In addition to the bylaw changes, the board also agreed to hold only one meeting per month for the months of June, July and August after staff requested the change to ease some of their workload. Executive director Matthew Gillen said the housing authority was so understaffed that some staff had to take on extra responsibilities, leaving them less time to create files for board meetings or to have meetings. lasting discussions.
“I think [this] would give the board a better product and give us a bit more time, especially this summer, to get you a good package once a month instead of really scrambling twice a month,” Gillen said.
He added that APCHA is in the process of hiring a new employee to manage qualifications, but that person likely won’t start until July and will need the summer to familiarize themselves with the program.
Council members ultimately backed the request, but said they would like to consider holding an open house or some sort of less formal council meeting over the summer so the public can stay informed. .
“I want to respect staff time, but I also want to respect the fact that there are things we are talking about that people have already been waiting for years for APCHA to come,” said board member Alycin Bektesh. administration.
Staff agreed to discuss internally how to hold a public rally in lieu of a formal board meeting and come back with more information. The next board meeting is scheduled for July 20.