With the average one bedroom apartment in Boulder topping over $1,800 per month, CU employees are finding it difficult to afford to live and work within the city limits. In Boulder County, 39.4% of households who rent are severely burdened, which according to the Department of Housing and Urban Developments means they spent more than 50% of their income on housing costs and utilities. In order to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Boulder, you would need a yearly income (after taxes) of $68,000 a year in after-taxes income in order to be considered unburdened by rent costs.
When it comes to home-ownership, the situation doesn’t look much brighter. The average single family home price in Boulder reached $1,207,403 in March 2018, which represents a 21% percent increase over the same period last year.
Many employees have been forced to extend their commutes and move farther away in order to make ends meet; in fact, 60% of university and classified staff commute from more than 10 miles away.
CU Boulder Staff Council has explored this issue and is working with CU Administration and the Academic Futures committee to establish a sustainable plan to ensure that staff have a path to home-ownership and rent relief from rising costs.
Staff Council is reaching out to constituents and gathering input as proposals are finalized. The proposals are as follows:
Option 1: Staff Housing Assistance Program
Mirror the Faculty Housing Assistance Program (FHAP)
- Partnership between Colorado Foundation Elevations Credit Union to provide two types of loans to “attract and retain faculty by improving the affordability of their primary residences”
- Loan Type 1: Down payment assistance loans available to qualified applicants selected by the University to participate in the FHAP.
- Loan Type 2: A loan provided by the University of Colorado, secured by a second deed of trust, and where in lieu of interest being paid, the University is paid a share of any appreciation.
- Provide support for new faculty who have very limited access to cost-effective financial capital resources
- Offer financial Housing assistance to faculty from all campuses of the University of Colorado
Option 2: Refundable Financial Credit for Rent
- Rent Relief be available to employees who live in rental housing and pay more than 50% of their gross income for the taxable year on their rent including utilities.
- Eligible employees would apply by (1) determining the total amount spent yearly on rent, and (2) taking into account the family’s annual income compared with fair market rent control rates.
Much like Paid Parental Leave, these things cannot happen without the feedback and advocacy of CU staff. Please message us with your thoughts, questions, ideas, concerns or feel encouraged to attend our monthly Staff Council meetings, which are free and open to the public.