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What is the history of Jane’s Place? 

Jane’s Place originated from the Salida community in 2019 as a legacy project honoring the vision of the late Jane Whitmer. Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) took over the project in 2022 to bring all the threads together and successfully build and operate the project. 

 

Jane's Place is a unique, mixed-use development planned for a currently vacant half-acre lot located a half mile from downtown Salida.  The development will consist of four buildings that will deliver 17 transitional housing units, including space for those requiring emergency sheltering, as well as a nonprofit community space, and social enterprise coffee shop with neurodivergent workers.

 

The housing units were designed with direct input from community members and organizations to serve folks in transition while they secure permanent housing in the area – whether they are Americorps volunteers, homeless individuals or families in crisis, seasonal employees, or brand-new recruits to Chaffee's workforce who need a safe place to land.

 

Over the past several years, CHA and the community have secured approximately $5.7 million dollars for construction, including a loan commitment from High Country Bank. This took a lot of time, effort and collaboration. Unless building costs increase over the next eight months, this amount is sufficient to complete construction.   

 

In spring of 2023, CHA completed site work including bringing utilities to the site and building a retaining wall at the back of the lot. Additionally design, engineering, and other up front work has been completed. Approximately $600,000 of the funds raised has been spent so far.  

 

CHA was awarded $1.287 million from DOLA in July 2023 and did not close until March 2024. The contracting process with DOLA took significantly longer than expected due to staffing shortages at the state. Just as the final financing was scheduled to close, legal counsel discovered that CHA had not passed a TABOR ballot measure upon formation and could not utilize all of the state and local government funds it had raised until it did so. 

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What’s the hold up now? 

Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) cannot build Jane’s Place until a TABOR ballot measure is passed by the voters. This is a very common measure that will ask voters if CHA can keep all revenues from state grants and local governments that support the operations of the Authority, WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. Most jurisdictions in Colorado, including Chaffee County, City of Salida, Town of Poncha Springs, both local school districts, South Arkansas Fire Protection District, Chaffee County Fire Protection District, both local Library Districts, and many more have already passed a similar measure. As a young organization, CHA must do this now to remain compliant with state law.  

The TABOR measure will be on the ballot in November 2024. Passing the TABOR measure is the fastest and best way to completing construction of Jane’s Place.

As a government entity, in order to start vertical construction all of the funding required must be in hand. Construction will be delayed until after the election in November when the TABOR initiative has been decided by the voters.

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Bummer, but how can I help?

In order to build Jane’s Place, voters need to pass a TABOR ballot measure. If you’d like to get involved to raise awareness, we’d love to hear from you. Contact info@chaffeehousingauthority.org. Thank you for your continued support of housing in Chaffee County. 

What if the TABOR ballot measure passes?

If the ballot measure passes, CHA plans to begin construction on Jane’s Place in the winter of 2024-2025 following the election, pending closing on the financing with High Country Bank and contractor availability.

What if the TABOR ballot measure doesn’t pass?

The building of Jane’s Place would be further delayed due to insufficient funding. 

 

The Board of County Commissioners could potentially form a single jurisdiction housing authority. All funds raised would need to be transferred to the new single jurisdiction housing authority. Single jurisdiction housing authorities are not subject to TABOR unlike multi-jurisdictional housing authorities.

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JANE'S PLACE

Photo credit Phreckles Photography.

May 18, 2023

Chaffee Housing Authority forms Jane's Place Committee

At its last Board of Directors meeting on May 18, 2023, the Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) formed an ad hoc committee devoted to ensuring that Jane’s Place begins construction as soon as possible.

“Establishing this Jane’s Place committee is an exciting next step that will ensure this one-of-a-kind project gets to the finish line as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Joseph Teipel, the Committee Chair. “The folks around the table on a weekly basis represent the commitment, diversity, and collaboration that has been intrinsic to this project since day one. With phase I construction complete, we are on the path to going vertical as soon as we possibly can.”

The Jane’s Place Committee has the authority to develop plans and strategies related to the financing, partnership management, funding, future operational planning, and communications for Jane’s Place. Major decisions involving fiduciary oversight will be brought to the full CHA Board for discussion and approval.

 

The committee is taking on four key initiatives. First, the committee is overseeing, reviewing, and supporting the financing of the project. Second, the committee is working to verify documentation of all partnerships related to the project and open the lines of communications with partners. Third, the committee is creating an implementation plan to close funding gaps, including grant research and writing, individual donor requests, confirmation of naming and sponsorship opportunities, and relationship management. Finally, the committee is developing and implementing a communications plan involving regular status updates to the community and key stakeholders.

 

The committee is documenting all key initiatives in a written action plan with who/what/when reporting timelines.

 

In creating the committee, the CHA Board partnered with the Community Foundation and Achieve, two organizations that will occupy space as tenants in the project.

 

Betsy Dittenber of the Community Foundation had the following comment: “We are honored to have played a role in the Jane's Place project since its inception. Serving as a critical puzzle piece in community-driven initiatives is a core part of our mission as a community foundation. We are glad to have a more formalized structure to continue to help Chaffee Housing Authority advance their project.”

Chaffee Housing Authority hosts
Jane’s Place Celebration of Phase One

The Chaffee Housing Authority celebrated the completion of phase One of the Jane’s Place Project. Jane’s Place is the innovative affordable housing project near downtown Salida honoring the late Jane Whitmer. Key donors and supporters of the project attended the celebration hosted at the Jane’s Place building site on the corner of W 3rd Street and HWY 291, Salida. The program highlighted the importance of local community investment in completing phase one of the project and setting the 2nd phase up for success.  Speakers included Keith Baker, Chaffee County Commissioner,  Dan Shore, City of Salida Mayor, Joseph Tiepel, Buena Vista Planning Director and Chaffee Housing Authority Vice Chair, and Miki Hodge, close friend and colleague to the late Jane Whitmer.

True to its namesake, the Jane’s Place Project is one of a kind. Jane is remembered as a convener, someone who lifted up those around her and was dedicated to her community and neighbors. “She was a real life Hero,” remembers Miki Hodge, friend and colleague of Jane Whitmer, “She believed that keeping families intact was paramount during turmoil, financial crisis, unsheltered times, unforeseen circumstances and adversity.”  When completed, Jane’s Place will bring 17 housing units to the Salida community, designed to serve immediate local needs. Seasonal employees, new recruits to the workforce, families and individuals in crisis, and Americorps volunteers will be directly served through Jane's Place. The project will also include a nonprofit incubator and social enterprise coffee shop.

 

“This is no traditional housing development. It was specifically designed by locals to meet local solutions and it leverages a variety of funding sources to ensure we can use the space how our community needs it most” shared Chaffee Housing Authority Board Chair, Craig Neilson, “From single family units, to seasonal housing, to space for our unsheltered neighbors - Jane’s Place is as much of a trailblazer in the housing solutions space as Jane was during her lifetime.”

 

By the completion of phase 1, Chaffee Housing Authority with the support of the community donors will have invested approximately $609,075 in the Jane's Place Project. This important first step was funded primarily by individual donors and local grants and resulted in the completion of the site development including constructing the retaining wall and installing all the underground infrastructure from the street to the building footprints, in preparation for the vertical improvements. The local community investment has set the project up for a successful phase 2, allowing the Chaffee Housing Authority to leverage grant funding and financing to cover the approximate $5,300,000 needed for the construction of the buildings. The last stage of the project is estimated to cost $500,000 and will include the furnishings, furniture, equipment and landscaping.

Jane’s Place was developed as a partnership between the Chaffee County Community Foundation, the CHA, and supporters and friends of Jane Whitmer. Individuals seeking to contribute to the project can make a tax deductible donation at www.chaffeecommunity.org/janesplace.

Photo credit Phreckles Photography.

Video created by 50 West Productions and intern Cooper Hodge.

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Questions about this project can be emailed to info@chaffeehousingauthority.org

or call us at 719-920-3497.

Past Fundraiser
Night of the Nutcracker

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A grand thank you to everyone who participated in the Night of the Nutcracker. Not only was it a wonderful evening enjoying dance excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, but it was an amazing tribute to our dear friend Jane Whitmer.

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