Wednesday, July 24

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Housing gets new director

By Maureen VanWalleghan.

Saguache, CO—Saguache County Housing Authority (SCHA) recently hired Cathy Maestas as the new housing director to replace Evan Samora, who has transitioned to a position with the State of Colorado. 

Maestas brings 15 years of extensive experience in property management from her work throughout Colorado. Her appointment aligns with the SCHA goals and strategies for future growth as development towards building the Range View Apartments in Saguache continues. 

Leveraging partnerships and innovative financing has been an essential strategy for realizing affordable housing goals in Saguache County. Just before Samora’s last day on the job, he received word that Saguache County’s Range View project, a proposed 32-unit affordable housing complex, was allocated Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC.) 

The significant award provides $12,323,768 in tax credits for the Range View project. This is in addition to the $640,000 received from the State of Colorado (Department of Local Affairs) for off-site needs. Additionally, the project was awarded $500,000 from the Colorado Health Foundation, plus $200,000 in grant matching from Saguache County beyond the initial $63,000 Saguache County used to purchase the parcel where Range View will be built. Other funding also includes $10,000 committed from SCHA and $20,000 committed from the Town of Saguache. 

As of this writing, the $16.1 million Range View affordable housing complex is fully funded. The community support received for this project is one of the most important pieces for bringing Range View to fruition in Saguache. It must also be emphasized that major funders have chosen Saguache County to invest the more than $16 million. This funding phenomenon is a once-in-a-generation event for Saguache. All this has been made possible by strategic collaborations in securing resources for successful project implementation.

The Housing Authority under Samora’s leadership and Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp (NWRECC) developed the affordable housing community called The Iron Horse in Alamosa. Through this long-standing collaboration between SCHA and NWRECC, many hours and late evenings were devoted to compiling the information required to submit a competitive funding application to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) for a LIHTC award. 

LIHTC is a very complex funding source and highly competitive; a typical funding round receives $3 in requests for each $1 available for funding. In order to apply, a project must be “shovel ready” and the funding application must be submitted by a housing developer who has experience with working with LIHTC. SCHA does not have this experience, but NWRECC does. The LIHTC program serves as a crucial financing tool for affordable housing initiatives for communities in regions like the San Luis Valley. 

Contact Saguache County Housing Authority, Cathy Maestas, SCHA housing director 719-849-0356 cmaestas@saguachecounty-co.

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