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City Council adopts new housing plan

graphic illustration of a bunch of brightly colored houses and apartment complexes
(Graphic illustration by Abby Flitton | The Collegian)

 

 

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Nota del editor: Puedes leer la versión en español de este artículo aquí.

The Fort Collins City Council adopted the new Housing Strategic Plan at their meeting on Feb. 16. 

The reading of the plan was presented by Jacqueline Kozak Thiel, chief sustainability officer. It passed 7-0.

According to the City of Fort Collins’ website, the Housing Strategic Plan “guides housing policy, sets housing goals and creates a framework for City investments in the housing system.” Fort Collins has been updating the plan since the fall of 2020.

“Adopting the plan basically tells City staff and the community, this is the direction that City Council wants us to go,” said Meaghan Overton, Fort Collins senior city planner.

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There are several important differences in the new update of the plan. The first difference is that the new plan will focus on providing affordable housing for the entire population of Fort Collins, including all income levels, Overton said.

I would encourage people to stay engaged because there’s a lot of work that we all need to do together, and we can’t do it if people don’t stay involved.” -Meaghan Overton, Fort Collins senior city planner

Overton said that the cost of housing is rising faster than incomes. The new plan expands the scope to the whole spectrum of housing rather than only focusing on housing affordability for people who make 80% of the area median income and below, she said. 

“Simply not being able to afford homes is a key thing we heard from the community,” said Lindsay Ex, interim housing manager.

The housing plan acknowledges that increases in housing prices impact marginalized groups and low-income residents disproportionately.

“The plan really looks at how we can improve housing equity in addition to overall supply of affordability and choice as well,” Ex said.

Another difference in the new plan is a greater emphasis on housing stability and the health of housing.

About half of the people in Fort Collins rent their homes now, Overton said. Renters typically have less control than owners over things like stability and the condition of the house, she said. The new plan will address stability and health, particularly for people who rent, Overton explained. 

The plan could have an impact on Colorado State University students as well.

“CSU students should care about the new housing plan because it has the potential to improve the affordability of housing in Fort Collins,” said Hannah Taylor, president of the Associated Students of CSU. “It also has the potential to prioritize rental protection so that CSU students receive better treatment from landlords.”

There are 26 priority strategies in the plan, Overton said. The strategies will be broken into smaller parts, including getting things like funding and teams to implement them.

“The plan really sets the direction,” Overton said. “We need to figure out how to resource each of those strategies and make those strategies a reality.”

Community members are encouraged to get involved in the housing policy of Fort Collins. 

“I would encourage people to stay engaged because there’s a lot of work that we all need to do together, and we can’t do it if people don’t stay involved,” Overton said.

Piper Russell can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PiperRussell10.

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About the Contributor
Piper Russell, News Editor
Piper Russell is one of The Collegian’s news editors this year and is thrilled to be working in the role. She started as a news reporter her sophomore year, covering news happening around the Colorado State University campus and the Fort Collins community. She continued to cover CSU and Fort Collins news as well as the Associated Students of CSU during her junior year. Russell is now a senior double majoring in journalism and media communication and Spanish. Although she began college undeclared, she quickly discovered her passion for journalism through the classes she took at CSU and her work at The Collegian. She’s always loved all things involving reading and writing, so working at The Collegian ended up being the perfect fit. As news editor, Russell ensures The Collegian covers important CSU and Fort Collins news accurately, truthfully and thoroughly. The Collegian has already given her many opportunities to hone her writing and reporting skills. She is very grateful and excited to have a leadership position at The Collegian, which will allow her to continue to grow as a reporter and editor. As well as writing, Russell can be found skiing, hiking, rafting and doing pretty much anything else outdoors, as she’s from the mountains. She loves traveling and hopes to do more of it in the future. She will also read any book she can get her hands on.

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