Continuum of Housing In Action: Thistle Renter becomes Thistle Homeowner at Buena Vista CLT Community
Upon the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, housing was declared as a critical component to the human right to an adequate standard of living. In the decades since, access to housing has been reaffirmed as key indicator of health, opportunity, and overall quality of life. Despite this, and lots of great and continued partnership efforts, housing affordability continues to deteriorate in many areas of the country.
Boulder, Colorado has been particularly affected. In fact, as of October 2022, the median home sold price in Boulder approached $1M (Source: realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Boulder_CO/overview). The high prices of homes, coupled with rising interest rates, inventory scarcity, a shrinking economic middle, and wage stagnation are leaving many people without options, irrespective of their incomes.
Boulder-based non-profit, Thistle Community Housing is seeking to address this widespread housing crunch by offering a “continuum of housing,” designed to meet the diverse needs of Boulder residents. Presently, Thistle offers a range of housing options, each intended to serve a particular need in the market. Thistle CEO, Paul D’Angelo hopes to increase the types of housing offered, while also charting a path for renters to become homeowners. “What we’re hoping to eventually accomplish here is that individuals and families can enter into a Thistle Community as a renter and have the opportunity to become a homeowner. It’s our goal to have rental properties for those with an income up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), maybe even up to 100% AMI, and homeownership properties for people with incomes up to 120% of the AMI. We feel we can accomplish this through strategic partnerships, particularly around the reporting of rental income to national credit bureaus if the resident so chooses, financial literacy, and home balance sheet education.”
Offering housing on a spectrum works. Sarah*, was looking to find affordable housing in Boulder and applied at the Ellipse, one of Thistle’s newest affordable rental communities. In her seventh month of renting, she found out that a home in Thistle’s Buena Vista community had become available. Homes in Buena Vista sit atop a Community Land Trust (CLT). CLTs provide unique homeownership opportunities by retaining ownership of the land and leasing it to homebuyers, at prices below market rates. At Buena Vista, 49 of the 57 homes are permanently affordable and they are offered primarily to folks working in Boulder earning 60%-80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). These income qualifications ensure that residents exceeding the AMI thresholds for one of Thistle’s rental options are still able to take advantage of affordable housing elsewhere in Thistle’s portfolio while remaining connected to the Boulder community.
Working with Marguerite Ryback, Thistle’s Real Estate & Homeownership Specialist, Sarah was able to break her lease at the Ellipse and purchase her new home at Buena Vista. As part of Thistle’s overall goal to make homeownership a reality, Thistle will waive any fees for people breaking their leases, if they move to purchase a Thistle CLT home.
Recognizing that housing is more than just a place to live, Thistle continues to seek opportunities to develop quality affordable rental and homeownership possibilities for Boulder County residents. Please see the Thistle website to learn more about Thistle Rental & Homeownership opportunities – www.thistle.us.
“It’s so exciting to see this great example of one of our Thistle rental residents become a Thistle Homeowner. Through our affordable rental properties Thistle is able to better balance the individual and family’s housing costs with their overall income, and through homeownership, we are helping to provide economic opportunity, wealth building and the empowerment of owning your own home. This is our mission. This is our vision.”
*Name changed to protect confidentiality