While Housing Prices Soar, HBASC Plans to Help

6/14/2021

It's no secret that housing prices in Southwest Colorado are soaring, and a limited, local skilled labor pool is part of the problem. That's why the Homebuilders Association of Southwest Colorado intends to donate part of the proceeds from its June 26 Contractors Yard Sale to support Durango and Bayfield high school training programs. Sponsored by Homebuilders Association of Southwest Colorado

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Building Southwest Colorado, brought to you by the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado. The voice of the building industry through advocacy, education, membership and community. It's no secret that housing prices have shot through the roof this past year. That's why the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado, plans to use proceeds from the Annual Contractor's Yard Sale on June 26th to invest in programs that will help more families acquire their own homes. You're watching Building Southwest Colorado, brought to you by the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado. I'm Executive Officer Rebekah DeLaMare. According to first quarter statistics, from the Durango Area Association of Realtors, the median price for an in-town Durango home shot up by 21% over the previous year, to nearly $584,000. bankrate.com estimates that a 30 year mortgage for that amount at today's interest rates, would cost more than $2,400 a month. That's more than 42% of a median annual household income of $68,600 in La Plata County. And prices are expected to keep rising. Literally dozens of State and Federal Agencies address the need for affordable housing, defined by the Office of Housing and Urban Development, as a monthly payment equal to 30% of your monthly income. But building housing to meet that threshold, usually requires massive subsidies to offset the real cost of construction. As a result, affordable housing accessibility, usually is limited to only the poorest of low income families and individuals. As a Professional Trade Association, we aim to invest in programs that will help our community build attainable housing, housing that is within reach of our middle-class workers.

Need to invest in programs that help people to get loans, first time home buyer loans, cover the costs of down payments, so they actually can get into a home, keep their mortgage down, which makes it so they can actually afford the home once they are able to attain that home and really we need the labor force to do that so we can keep it local. We need help from a local government to be able to do that, we need lots of things to be able to do that. And we just felt like refocusing our program and maybe hopefully partnering with home funds eventually, housing solutions of the Southwest down the road. We are able to allocate those funds to more people.

One of the factors that contributes to high housing costs, is a skilled labor shortage. Three years ago, we've worked with Durango and Bayfield High Schools, to launch the trades and training program. A national curriculum developed by the Home Builders Institute, to train and certify high school students in the construction trades. Our association and its members have purchased or donated materials for students at each high school, to build a tiny home from the ground up. In addition, our members, volunteers, mentors and instructors to teach students skills like plumbing, electrical work, cabinetry, appliance installation and so much more. Students learn from our professionals and the professionals get an opportunity to see the work of potential future employees.

We've had the contractors come in and work with the kids, this is pre COVID of course, we haven't done it since we've been in COVID a year ago, but they do come in the professionals, the licensed professionals come in and work with the kids directly and you know, incly a couple of kids in here, he can't get too many in there, but they're doing it all with us. So they're getting it right up front, I'm a teacher, I've been teaching for a long time, I'm not out in the field like these professionals are. I bridge that gap. I get those kids hooked up with the professionals and the professionals show them what it's like and what's required to be able to do these, do this kind of work. In the trades and training program, also offers the kids pre-apprenticeship certifications, which is great, cause that looks great on a resume. Those kids that met those competencies, they're ready to go.

Smith estimates that so far, the three-year-old Durango High School program alone, has produced about a dozen workers who have entered the construction industry, immediately after graduating. They are the first steps of many with the hope of creating a strong pipeline of skilled workers in partnership with our school districts.

Do you need a new crew to start something, they're booked out until probably the end of summer, late fall, where you're really your only solution to get somebody to do the work now is outside labor force. You know, we have a very large, I think we have about a four hundred and thirty six plus people within our labor force, that small for what we're trying to do here. It's not a whole lot of people to go around. We just need, students that come out of high school ready to go, where they don't have to go through that learning curve. And we feel like that's going to better, help, keep costs more affordable, we don't have to outsource labor. And you know, it's going to take a little bit to see the turnaround on that but I think it'll be a good, a good, good program once it gets really going.

Proceeds from our 25th Annual Contractor's Yard Sale will benefit our youth investments program which includes expanding trades and training, from Bayfield and Durango into Silverton, Ignacio and Pagosa Springs High Schools. Additionally, the HBASC will continue to support graduating students by offering cash scholarships for college and tools for students entering the trades, directly out of school. Proceeds also will benefit SkillsUSA, a student run program that builds employment and leadership skills for future workers and more than a hundred different industries. The yard sale will run from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturday June 26th in the Durango High School parking lot. To learn more, visit our website @hbasc.com. Thanks for watching this edition of Building Southwest Colorado. I'm Rebekak DeLaMare.

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