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CHA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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CRAIG NIELSON
Board Chair, Chaffee County
Craig.Nielson@chaffeehousing
authority.org

As a twenty-year plus resident of Salida and Chaffee County, I'm excited to join the talented and diverse CHA team to address the critical housing needs facing our communities. Starting in the early 1990's I had a 20-year career in regional planning, community development and affordable housing and have founded two successful housing non-profit organizations. Since 2005 I have owned and operated Green Edge Design, a green building architectural design studio focusing on sustainable housing.  

It's hard to name just one favorite place.

 

My favorite mountains in the county are the "Ute Peaks" (Mount Ouray, Chipeta Mountain, and Phalone Peak), named in honor of family members of the Ute Tribe, the valleys' original inhabitants. As a rock climber, my favorite places to climb are the crags around the tunnels on CR 371. That area and the amazing backcountry of Browns Canyon National Monument, where the high desert meets the alpine, are also high on the list.

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JEFF EATON
Vice Chair, Chaffee County
Jeff.Eaton@chaffeehousing
authority.org

I have been visiting Colorado for over 25 years and fell in love with the majesty of the mountains and the extensive outdoor activities Colorado offers. Loretta and I decided to retire in 2021 and relocate to Buena Vista from Pennsylvania to be closer to both of our sons.


I enjoyed a 45+ year career in both the public and private sectors, primarily in social services/housing program development and delivery. During the last 21 years of my career as CEO/President of a regional New York 501(c)(3) Corporation, my primary focus was on affordable housing development and management, including family/senior
multi-family Low Income Housing Tax Credit development.

I became intrigued with the housing crisis in Chaffee County and was invited to join the CHA Development Committee in early 2023. I also contracted with CHA as Interim Executive Director for a brief period during the recent Executive Director transition and was subsequently
appointed to the Board in July 2023.

 

While there is so much to offer here, I believe aggressive steps must be taken to ensure housing options exist for all residents. I am hopeful my experience can be instrumental in providing some of those solutions.


My favorite spot in Chaffee County is anywhere outdoors with family and friends.

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RICH MANCUSO
Treasurer, At Large
Rich.Mancuso@chaffeehousing
authority.org

I moved to Salida, CO fifteen years ago and am very fortunate to have grown up here and continue living in this wonderful community. After graduating from Salida High School, I spent that next summer acquiring my insurance licenses and started my career as an account manager and producer for GKS Insurance specializing in commercial lines. After over six years in the insurance industry, I decided it was time for a change and took on a position as a commercial loan officer for High Country Bank. Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet and work with some of the greatest people and local businesses, as well as build long lasting relationships with them. After a little over three years with High Country Bank, I was given a tremendous opportunity, and am now employed by Collegiate Peaks Bank as a commercial loan officer where our main focus is supporting the communities we live and work by emphasizing personalized service. Having worked professional sales and customer service positions in Salida for ten years now, I have gained extensive experience and knowledge in this community.

 

My favorite spot in Chaffee County is Fooses Creek, where I enjoy camping and fishing it’s numerous beaver ponds for Brook Trout.

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I have more than 23 years’ experience in management in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. For seven years I provided direct mental health/substance abuse treatment services and housing services for the homeless population in Aurora, Colorado. I was on the board to end homelessness in Colorado for the Governors' offices for 5 years. I not only provided direct services to families but also provided clinical oversight for families and individuals that struggled with our housing options daily. My main focus has been high risk families and adolescents, the most common topic is lack of affordable housing in our community. What better way to support the families I serve than to help impact the problem in a positive way through community collaboration and support.

My favorite place in Chaffee County is outdoors with my family. I love to spend time with my family and we live in this great place so we enjoy it, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, etc.

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I bring over 20 years of construction, community development, organizational development, and project management skills to CHA. Born and raised in Chaffee County, so this place is my home in the deepest sense of the word and I am committed to doing everything I can to make it a better place to live for everyone. Currently, I work as Planning Director for the Town of Buena Vista and live in town here with my wife Ashley and two kids.

My favorite place in Chaffee is an old fire access road off of Cottonwood pass - I love hiking there with my family and pups.

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DAN SHORE

When I ran for city council back in 2017 my primary motivation was to focus on our housing issues.

In my capacity as mayor for the past two years I have continued to pursue that initiative. Prior to becoming a public official I spent approximately 30 years as a business development officer for primarily mutual fund companies. That career afforded me many opportunities to work with people with opposing viewpoints. I believe that skillset is directly transferable to serving on the housing authority board.

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In 1993 I moved to beautiful Chaffee County, Colorado and have resided here for the last 30 years with my husband and two children. We love living in this beautiful mountain town. I enjoy hiking and paddling around the local lakes and the Arkansas river.

Over the years, my family has watched our community grow and change. With these changes, I have gained a strong interest in affordable housing in Chaffee County since I have observed the prices in our area soar. Seeing many of our local families, businesses and local professionals struggle financially to stay in our community due to lack of affordable housing. It breaks my heart to see our children moving out of the area

because they cannot afford to live here and raise their families.

Since 2017, I have worked for High Country Bank as a mortgage lender. Assisting clients in making informed financial decisions regarding their mortgage and investing in real estate in the area. Giving me immense pleasure to help them start their new lives in our

beautiful community.

 

In addition, I have also had the opportunity to work for Collegiate Peaks bank for the prior 14 years and Pueblo Bank & Trust for the 2 years before that. With over 22 years professional banking experience and six years closing residential real estate loans, I

have a strong understanding of real estate in the area. I am delighted to be a part of the CHA team to increase affordable housing options for our community.

 

My favorite place in Chaffee County is the Midland Trail. I try to hike it daily and have seen the sun rising and setting on the river in every beautiful season.

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ANGELA MOKATE
Chaffee County
Angela.Mokate@chaffeehousing
authority.org

I first came to Chaffee County in 2008 to work as a raft guide on the Arkansas River. I fell in love with the mountains and whitewater of Colorado and kept returning every summer. I met my husband Chris, a fellow guide and after building a supportive community we decided to make Colorado our home.

 

Together we built a residential

real estate inspection company that focuses on pre-purchasing inspections that he continues to run today. My “can do” attitude, creativity and ambition while working alongside buyers and agents during the inspection process motivated me to get my real estate license and transition into a Realtor in

Chaffee County.

Being a Realtor for Full Circle Real Estate Group has given me a magnified view of

the challenges facing our community regarding affordable housing. I have also had the opportunity to work with Colorado Association of Realtors being one of thirteen Realtors from around Colorado chosen to attend their leadership academy including

realtor day at the capital, Denver’s economic summits as well as Realtor property forums to address property rights and speak with state legislators about the housing crisis in Colorado. I am excited to help represent my community of the seasonal workforce, service workers, small business owners, independent contractors, and

everyone else who has experienced hardships due to the housing shortage.

 

My favorite place in Chaffee County is and will always be Browns Canyon and theNumbers sections of the Arkansas River. It was what first brought me to the valleyand continues to play a big role in my life and community here.

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SALTY RIGGS
Salida
Salty.Riggs@chaffeehousing
authority.
org

I'm Salty, and my mission is to champion affordable housing within our community. As the President of BETCH, I've dedicated myself to ensuring that the workforce has a strong voice in the conversations surrounding housing decisions that directly affect their lives.

 

I believe that housing is a human right, and my advocacy centers around turning this belief into a reality. I've been a vocal advocate for zoning reform, shedding light on the existing system's biases that favor wealthier landowners over the working class. The growing income disparity in our community over the last few years serves as a stark reminder of the urgency for change.

 

My approach has always involved challenging the status quo. I am recognized for bringing a much-needed dose of reality to community conversations, and I've earned respect for the effort I put into doing research. Core principles drive my work – unity and agency. I'm deeply committed to giving the workforce the power to shape their own destinies and regain agency over their lives.

 

My favorite place in Chaffee County is Hecla Junction. It’s always sunny at Hecla.

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CHRIS LEDGER
Alternate, At Large
Chris.Ledger@chaffeehousing
authority.org

I moved to Chaffee County in 2013 to be a whitewater rafting guide on the Arkansas River. I soon fell in love with the valley with all of its amazing recreation opportunities. I then spent the next several years moving from seasonal job to seasonal job but always ended up finding myself back here in Chaffee County.

 

Finally in 2020 my wife and I decided to get out of the seasonal circuit and started a Home Inspection business which I currently operate. While doing Home Inspections I have had a unique view of who are buying homes in Chaffee County and it was surprising to me that current residents buying homes were few and far between. This was one of the main reasons that I decided to join the CHA, as I want to be a part of the process that will make housing more attainable for the people who live and work in this amazing valley.

 

My Favorite place in Chaffee County is the Arkansas River, where you can find me, my wife, and our dog enjoying the best whitewater in the state.

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CHRISTY DOON
Alternate, Salida
Christy.Doon@c
haffeehousing
authority.org

I am currently the Interim Administrator for the City of Salida. Previous roles with Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) have included serving as the South Central Colorado Regional Manager and working on Rural Economic and Community Development.

 

I am also on the faculties of the University of Colorado and Adams State University.
Additionally, I serve on the Chaffee County Community Foundation Board (CCCF) and chair CCCF’s Nonprofit Capacity Committee.

 

I have lived in Salida for 10 years. My husband, daughter and I enjoy all activities the area has to offer, including skiing, getting out on to the river and exploring the public lands that

surround us.

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BRIAN BERGER
Alternate, Buena Vista
Brian.Berger@chaffeehousing
authority.org

I was recently provided the opportunity to take the position of Town Administrator for the Town of Buena Vista after serving as the Town Administrator/Treasurer for the Town of Poncha Springs over the last 7+ years.

 

I have also served on numerous other boards in Chaffee County over the years; including, Monarch Community Outreach, Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau, Chaffee County Transportation Advisory Board, Chaffee County E-911 Authority Board, San Luis Valley Transportation Planning Region, and the Chaffee Rec Council.

 

Having lived here for almost 10 years, my favorite place in Chaffee County is still finding a new road on the map and exploring an area I haven’t been to.

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BETH HELMKE
Alternate, Chaffee County
Beth.Helmke@chaffeehousing
authority.org

I bring varied leadership experience from my professional background in the nonprofit sector, education, nature-based youth programming, and communications.

 

I have a Bachelors in Molecular Biology and Masters in Nonprofit Management and currently work as Chaffee County Government’s Deputy Director. I am passionate about stewardship and sustainability and building a more inclusive and diverse outdoor recreation culture and community.

 

My love for trail running, summit seeking, and all manner of backcountry adventuring also ties in well with her involvement with Chaffee County Search and Rescue-North.

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