Friday, February 7, 2014

Housing Authority touts successes

Director optimistic of future home ownership in the valley

Express Staff Writer

David Patrie is the executive director of the Blaine County Housing Authority. He told the Ketchum City Council this week that private and public agencies in Blaine County need to look at new ways of adding to the stock of affordable housing. Express file photo

     Blaine County Housing Authority Executive Director David Patrie delivered a presentation to the Ketchum City Council on Monday, lauding the organization’s recent successes.

     Patrie said 12 community-housing units were sold last year, with two in Hailey, two in Sun Valley and eight in Ketchum.

     We are really pleased with the number of community homes we’ve been able to sell,” Patrie said. “The community houses we’ve been able to sell are the biggest thing we’ve been able to do, from our perspective.”

     According to a report from the agency, from 1990 to 2000 the Wood River Valley lost more than 90 homeowners. However, from 2000 to 2010, there has been a gain of 34 new homeowners.

     “And over that period of time, we put 60 new homes online,” Patrie said. “If we didn’t put those homes out, then there would not have been a gain.”

     Since the addition of a Housing Authority office in Ketchum on the corner of River and Second Street a year ago, Patrie said the organization has been much more accessible to those looking for housing in the Wood River Valley.

     “We have been able to provide easier, more accommodating access for potential applicants,” Patrie said. “There have been a lot more people coming in from the lunchtime crowd, and it helps a lot with the going back and forth with paperwork when we have face-to-face communication with our applicants.”

     Patrie also spoke of the close working relationship between the Housing Authority and the ARCH Community Housing Trust to bring affordable housing to the area.

     “ARCH works on the development of affordable housing in the area, while the BCHA is focused on the stewardship,” Patrie said. “In a sense, ARCH does sticks and bricks, while the BCHA handles people. ARCH gets the facility built and ready, while we get the people that will occupy the unit.”

     Patrie said the Housing Authority and ARCH have a “robust and very close” partnership that has been beneficial for both organizations and Blaine County as a whole. As of now, Patrie said there will be major difficulties in bringing more affordable housing to the valley.

     “Development here has halted,” Patrie said. “Unless we have a housing boom, we’re going to have a hard time getting more affordable housing. We need to look at new ways to bring affordable housing here.”

     During a housing boom before the national recession hit in 2008, some development projects in Blaine County mandated the inclusion of deed-restricted community housing.

     Patrie told the council he is concerned about people in the area losing jobs, but feels that the numbers are turning around and beginning to stabilize.            

     According to the Housing Authority’s annual fiscal year 2013 report, the organization has $164,157 in total assets and brought in $181,965 in total revenue, $147,500 of which was generated from contracts for services. The organization had $164,156 in total equity and liabilities and $153,800 in total expenses. In sum, the organization had a net income of $28,165.

     In the 2013 fiscal year, the Housing Authority worked directly with 123 households in its database. It included 65 new applicants, while there were 58 households that were placed in housing or removed from the database.

     The City Council last summer approved a $70,000 contract for services with the Housing Authority in its 2013-14 budget. No additional funds were approved during the meeting Monday.

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