Anyone who lives in Northern Colorado has likely noticed the high cost of housing in the much-desired area. Colorado State University understands the challenge that many employees face in locating affordable housing and has pledged to improve housing circumstances of employees by establishing an employee-housing program.
CSU President Joyce McConnell emphasized the commitment in the Courageous Strategic Transformation process last year, saying equity and a robust workforce is critical to the mission and future of CSU. “Our employees go above and beyond for our students and our community every day,” she said. “We are determined to go above and beyond for them as well.”
Employee Housing Programs
As a sign of that commitment, the CSU Employee Housing Programs was created to design, deliver and manage housing assistance programs for employees in April. Debbie Mayer, CSU’s housing navigator in Employee Housing Programs, has spent the past few months delving into research and programming related to how to provide opportunities for affordable housing for CSU employees.
“Affordable housing is a wellbeing issue. For some of our employees, rent is 50% of their income, and it can be so stressful when you are worrying about how to pay rent, buy food and support children,” said Mayer. “But it also is a recruitment and a retention issue. We want to attract the best employees and keep our quality faculty and staff members.”
The CSU Employee Housing Programs has four major objectives:
- To better understand the core housing needs of employees in order to create and implement initiatives that help alleviate housing challenges
- To provide information, education and resources to assist employees with their housing needs that supports a connection to the CSU campus and the local community
- To help employees and their families access affordable places to live
- To improve long-term housing stability for the well-being of CSU employees
Survey results to help guide decisions
On Aug. 23, the CSU Employee Housing Programs will send a survey via email to all CSU employees asking for input on housing circumstances, including current and future housing needs and preferences. The survey results will be anonymous, and personal information (name, CSU ID, IP address etc.) will not be collected or tied to survey responses in any way.
Vice President for Operations Lynn Johnson encourages all employees to fill out the survey to allow for effective housing solutions. “We need this feedback to continue our research and problem solving, and to get a better understanding about how to address challenges in quality affordable housing,” she said.
Mayer said the University has sent surveys asking about housing in the past but emphasized that this core housing needs assessment is the first exclusive to housing and will better identify specific housing trends and needs.
A preliminary rendering of the Timberline project.
A land swap in the works between CSU and Timberline Church on Timberline Road has paved the way for an important step forward in the University’s emphasis on affordable housing for employees. Once completed, the land will be purchased at a discount by Tetrad Property Group, which will build 180 apartments.
Sixty of the one-to-three-bedroom apartments will be available for CSU employees to rent at a below-market rate. Results and needs assessed from the employee housing survey will help determine the interest in these units and help set the rental criteria.
Brett Anderson, special assistant to CSU Chancellor Tony Frank, is working with Mayer and the Employee Housing Programs on the Timberline project.
“One of the biggest issues our employees have is finding acceptable, affordable housing, he said. “To get this reduced rental rate for a minimum of 20 years in apartments that are in a great location and close to shopping and transportation will be a huge bonus for our CSU employees.” Anderson said the apartments will tentatively be ready to rent in spring or Summer 2023.
Other housing resources
In addition to encouraging employees to fill out the housing survey, Mayer said there are many other opportunities for employees to engage with affordable housing information including visiting the Employee Housing Programs website. The site will provide information about the Below Market Rate Rental Program, as well as resources for rental and sabbatical housing searches, financial assistance referrals, home ownership information and other housing-related assistance.
For questions or additional information, the Employee Housing Programs can be reached at HR_EmployeeHousingPrograms@colostate.edu.