APCHA by the numbers: Data system provides insight into Aspen’s affordable housing program
The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority’s data tracker and online system has reached a critical mass of information since its rollout earlier this year, and it now provides a deep dive into the program for decision makers to decide on politics in the future.
Data collected through the $1.4 million HomeTrek system since its public rollout in February shows the breadth and depth of who lives in the 3,122 units in the affordable housing program’s inventory, what their income categories, how many have roommates or dependents, and perhaps most important for civil servants is how many are close to retirement.
While APCHA requires people living in restricted-act units to work a minimum of 1,500 hours per year in Pitkin County, current policy allows individuals to retire at home when they reach legal age. .
Overall, 77.3% of people living in APCHA housing are under the age of 65 and 22.7% are older than that.
But that may soon change based on data collected by HomeTrek.
The largest group of people who live in APCHA housing, 26%, or 611 people, are between the ages of 50 and 59.
According to data from HomeTrek, people between the ages of 60 and 69 account for 20.7%, or 484 people, living in deed-restricted housing.
Knowing exactly how many people living within APCHA are close to retirement age has been a question on the minds of officials in recent years as they plan for future housing, anticipating that a significant number of Units are inhabited by people who will no longer contribute to the local workforce.
“It’s a question that APCHA gets a lot, so it’s nice to be able to say ‘here’s our breakdown of ownership ages right now,'” APCHA trade analyst Andrew Miller said during an interview. a presentation to the board of directors of the housing authority last week. .
Rachel Richards, APCHA board member and Aspen city councilman, said future analysis of retiree lifespans in their APCHA units would be helpful.
“How can we better understand the issue of retirement as opposed to anecdotal information? she asked, noting that older Aspen residents often move to lower elevations or to be near family. “Rather than looking at the number of people who have worked in the community for a long time as a liability to maintaining a unit, I would like to reframe that a bit to understand how many golden years they can really spend here. .”
According to HomeTrek data, 279 people between the ages of 70 and 79 live in APCHA units; 34 between 80 and 89 years old; and four over 90 years old.
The HomeTrek system has tracked dates of purchase since 1978, as well as how many years people have owned units.
The majority of owners, nearly 38% or 626 people, have owned their home for less than 10 years, and nearly 32%, or 524 people, have owned their home for 10 to 19 years.
“The majority of our units have been sold over the past 20 years,” Miller said at the September 15 APCHA board meeting.
HomeTrek’s data breaks down the number of bedrooms in inventory and who lives in the units, which determines their utilization or underutilization.
For example, there are 118 two-bedroom units that have one occupant and there are 110 three-bedroom units where two people live.
“It could be for a variety of reasons,” Miller said, noting that dependents or tenants could have moved, a divorce or separation has occurred, or when it came time for the lottery to win a unit, eligibility allowed it.
APCHA’s acting executive director and deputy city manager, Diane Foster, said the agency is working with its communications team to advertise and educate landlords on how to rent a room in an effort to to house more people.
The report is a high-level overview of general ownership and sales information that was collected through the 2021 biennial Affidavit of Ownership process and is relevant through September 13, according to Miller.
Approximately 89% of all program owners have submitted their information into the HomeTrek system.
The report does not include rental information, which is intentional as APCHA intends to survey all rental units through their owners in early 2022.
The report also does not include information on secondary suites and caretaker units, as APCHA is currently working with city and county community development departments to identify their numbers.
Prior to HomeTrek’s rollout, APCHA did not have a complete record of all of its restricted deed properties in the city and county due to its paper-based system.
The platform allows current residents of APCHA property and rental units, as well as those wishing to apply or bid on properties, the ability to do all business online rather than on paper. It also provides the public with real-time information data on all inventory units.
HomeTrek users complete their online qualification applications, submit their interest in an available APCHA-managed rental unit, place a bid for lottery property units, and view their property unit’s valuation.
The concept has been in the works for more than two years and was originally pioneered by former APCHA Executive Director Mike Kosdrosky, who identified that the antiquated housing authority system was not making service to the program.
Moving from paper to automation is one of the biggest changes to the agency in decades.
Funded by property and sales taxes and developer fees, APCHA was one of the nation’s first labor housing agencies and the first in Colorado when it was established in the late 1970s.
APCHA now controls billions of dollars in real estate and without a system like HomeTrek, it had no reliable way to track who owns what and who lives where.
Last week, APCHA board members praised the hard work of agency staff members in launching HomeTrek, as well as dissecting the data into relatively understandable information.
“It informs everything we do,” said Skippy Mesirow, APCHA board member and Aspen City Council member. “This is a big deal. … It’s taking us from mysticism to science, and it’s going to completely change how we’re able to respond to the community.