Gunnison plans housing resource fair to encourage local housing growth
By Robert Stevens
GUNNISON—City leaders are hosting a housing resource fair on Wednesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at Gunnison City Hall to give people information on home-purchase and home-finance options.
The event is part of an effort to create more housing in the city, to prepare for future growth and to encourage people who work in Gunnison to live there as well.
“The city is sponsoring this event in order to connect our local people to the resources that are available for home owners and future homeowners, such as rehab and weatherization projects, first-time mortgages, reverse mortgages and various federal programs for low and moderate-income housing opportunities,” says Gunnison Mayor Lori Nay.
A number of experts will be on hand to offer advice and information. “These experts can answer questions about debt-to-income ratios and how to prepare to buy a house, along with details of state and federal programs that may be available for your benefit,” Nay says.
They can answer questions such as, “How much can I afford to pay for a home?”, “What kind of loan can I qualify for?” and “What would be my payment per month?,” the mayor said.
“For instance,” she said, “a family making $50,000 who has no debt, can potentially qualify for an $180,000, 33-year loan with a payment of $750 a month.”
Among other experts, Sharlene Wilde and Eric Jorgensen from Neighborworks Community Development Foundation of Salt Lake City will share information on how first-time buyers can participate in USDA Rural Development programs.
The evening won’t be just about getting into a home; it will also offer resources for people looking for home improvement options.
Representatives from the Six County Housing and Community Action team will share information about various federal programs for weatherization and rehabilitation, including grants for insulation, air sealing, heat efficiency, and health-and-safety items such as carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
There are several crisis grant programs available for qualified homeowners to repair or replace broken furnaces and water heaters. There will also be information available on the Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), a loan program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where the interest is determined by income and can be as low as 1 percent.
“There will be a formal question-and-answer time and an informal time where people can meet directly with these experts,” Nay says. “The city hopes many people will come and learn about these resources and benefit from this housing resource fair.”
After the resource fair, at 7 p.m., the city council will review the results from a local housing study.
As part of Gunnison City’s General Plan update and because of the council’s desire to focus further on housing issues, a study was conducted on housing inventories and housing needs.
James Wood from the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business and Marci Milligan of Lotus Community Development will go over the results.
“After reviewing these results and receiving input from the public, the city will draft a 2-year action plan to better meet our housing needs,” Nay says.
“Better housing opportunities for Gunnison City is economic development for Gunnison City,” she says.
According to Nay, currently only 51 percent of the people who work in Gunnison live in the Gunnison Valley. Statistics gathered during formulation of the general plan found the city is growing 1 to 2 percent annually, which is below the growth rate of surrounding cities in Sanpete and Sevier counties.
“The city is committed to improving housing opportunities and a healthy growth of its population and asks for the public’s input and support in these efforts,” Nay says.