Donate Now to Keep the Lights On!
Support the Trust.
MAKE A CONTRIBUTION NOW & YOUR DONATION WILL BE MATCHED
TCH is the only Telluride area non-profit dedicated to housing.
Our goal is to raise contributions from locals, part-time residents, and business owners who care about the impact of the housing shortage. Every dollar we raise against our $125,000 goal will be matched dollar for dollar by a group of ‘bedrock’ supporters.
Your donations to TCH will bring more resources to do more for regional housing.
The Trust for Community Housing is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Our EIN/Tax Number is 82-4263384.
Your donations are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.
If you would like to mail check, please send to:
Trust for Community Housing
PO Box 2007
Telluride, Colorado 81435-2007
Our Grantees of the Housing Opportunity Fund
Karen and Moe Bellerose had grown accustomed to their long commute from the nearby community of Norwood to Telluride, where Karen works in the sheriff’s office, Moe is a water treatment specialist and their children, ages 13 and 15, attend school. They bought a house in Norwood nearly 20 years ago because it was far more affordable than what was available in Telluride.
“It’s hard Iiving in one place and having your life in another,” says Karen. “There’s a lot to be said for having everything in one place. It allows you to contribute more to the community.”
They were not alone. The Belleroses had friends who also were enduring long commutes because they couldn’t find affordable housing near their jobs. Some became so discouraged they gave up and moved out of the area altogether. “There are a lot of rentals in Telluride,” observed Karen, “but most belong to second homeowners who spend part of the year here. That equation doesn’t work for year-round employees like us.”
Then last fall, the Town of Telluride offered Moe a job overseeing its two water treatment facilities and wastewater station. One hitch: the position required him to be on call 24/7 to deal with emergencies for one week out of every month. During that week, he had to be within 15 minutes of Telluride.
It made sense to move the family to Telluride, not only to be close to work, but so their kids could more fully participate in school and social activities. An online search led to some promising news: a house close to town was for sale, thanks to a local government program that keeps a number of properties more affordable to give qualified local employees the ability to buy or rent homes and be active members of the community.
And there was more good news: Karen and Moe qualified for a grant from the new Trust for Community Housing (TCH), created to help defray expenses as down payments or closing and moving costs.
They were elated. “I didn’t think it was possible for someone at my income level to own in the Telluride,” says Moe, who worked as a carpenter for 20 years. “I thought I was priced out.”
With the help of the TCH’s housing opportunity fund, they were able to purchase the home in town. “The Housing Trust is such a great idea, but great ideas don’t get far without community support,” says Karen. “More than 60 donors to the Housing Trust made this possible. For that, we are tremendously grateful.”
“This was real-time assistance when we needed it most,” adds Moe.
Since moving into their new home, the family’s quality of life has improved in so many ways. The kids are able to participate more fully in school activities. Karen and Moe have gone cross country skiing and mountain biking after work – things they didn’t do in Norwood because it was dark by the time they got home. The family regularly goes to the movies together.
“The fabric of Telluride has always been a mix of people,” says Karen. “The town recognizes that mix is good for the community. That’s where the Trust comes in. It helps people who want to live and work here move into housing that might otherwise be out of reach.”
David Hallowell greeted friends on a lazy summer day. They had stopped by to see his new place, and definitely shared his excitement at being a first-time homeowner. He beamed as he showed his pals around.
Hallowell arrived in Telluride 13 years ago, taking a job with Telluride Ski and Golf as a snowmaker. Even in 2006, he found housing expensive, but was lucky to have some friends who already had a place with a room for him.
On his first day in town, he met Erik Dalton, owner of Jagged Edge and soon after, started working there. David has been with the locally owned outdoor store ever since, although typical of a lot of other workers, he had to cobble together jobs with a number of employers to be able to afford living in Telluride.
One of his other jobs was with Travis Young, owner of Box Canyon Bicycles. Young and his wife had recently bought a home in Telluride, and his enthusiasm and in conversations about housing over 6 years, encouraged Hallowell to think about buying a home of his own.
“When I thought about buying, I struggled,” he says. But he was tired of paying rent, and “wanted the security of knowing I had a place to sleep. I felt like it was tie to grow up and take more responsibility.” But finding a place? Affording a loan? Hallowell searched the region.
The opportunity to buy “fell into my lap,” he said, a direct result of relationships through work and network of friends. “I was incredibly lucky. I never thought I would be able to live in town again, then I found my house in East Telluride’s Wilkin Court” which was an early Town of Telluride deed-restricted home ownership project.
While he was prepared – with savings and good credit – it was a stretch. “Closing costs are expensive and I was definitely stretching,” he acknowledged. “It was all on me.” A friend mention the Trust for Community Housing Opportunity Fund, and Hallowell applied and was given a grant.
“The grant means that people care about keeping our community together,” he says. “It’s awesome that the TCH board cares, that they value keeping people here.” He feels that “it’s awesome that we acknowledge how important it is to have a strong community.”
David believes that the biggest struggle for local workers is finding housing. “When people struggle to work without housing, it’s hard to be a good worker, and that affects customer service,” he says. The insecurity, not knowing whether there’s a place to sleep at night, takes its toll.
He considers himself lucky to be at Jagged Edge. Owner Erik Dalton “treats his employees well because he knows the value of solid and happy employees.” A knowledgeable staff, rooted in Telluride and part of the community helps the store provide great service to its customers.
“I’m so fortunate to have had TCH’s help in getting into my house,” he says with a big smile. He loves his work, his new house and revels in what it means to be part of the Telluride community.
Snow fell on Telluride May 1, the day Marcus Smith closed on his first home. “I never imagined owning a home in town, let alone on Main Street,” said Smith.
For Smith, moving into the 128-year-old house in Telluride’s historic district this spring was a dream come true – one that almost didn’t happen.
A native of Grand Junction who graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Smith, now 30, followed friends to Telluride for its natural beauty, skiing and music festivals. Like many recent college graduates, he patched together a series of part-time or seasonal jobs in order to survive. Over the years, he has worked at the Telluride Ski Resort, Hook Telluride and SBG Productions among other places, frequently taking on two or three jobs at a time to make ends meet in an area where affordable housing has historically been few and far between. Initially, he lived with friends in Mountain Village before moving into town where he rented a room from Lynn Moore, who owns Hook Telluride, the home décor and gift store. But when Moore put her house on the market, Smith faced a stark reality: he loved living in town, but the cost of housing was beyond his means.
That is until he discovered he was eligible for a grant from the new Trust for Community Housing. Founded in 2018, the nonprofit was created to help people like Smith become Telluride homeowners. The $2,500 grant allowed Smith to purchase the house on Telluride’s Colorado Avenue, one of a handful of properties in the Town of Telluride kept affordable by the local deed restriction program. (In Telluride, the average single-family home price exceeds $550,000 and many are second homes. At the same time, the area depends on year-round residents like Smith who contribute to the community in myriad ways – working in hospitality and recreation, in municipal services and as teachers, for instance.)
But for Smith, the process of securing a mortgage was not without its drama. Although he kept a close eye on his bank account as he counted down to closing, as the day neared Smith discovered he was $1,500 short. “The Trust for Community Housing grant literally saved me in the end,” he says.
“I knew that someday I’d own a house, but I never dreamed it would be on Main Street,” adds Smith, who loves being able to look out his window at the majestic mountains. “It felt so good to know there was someone out there willing to help a first-time homebuyer. The Trust for Community Housing made it possible to own a home in Telluride without being a millionaire. For that, I am truly grateful.”
This spring there was more good news. In addition to moving into his new home, Smith was offered a full-time job with SPG Productions as operations, booking, vendor and volunteer manager. “Telluride has a reputation of being a resort town, but there is a great community of people who live here year-round,” said Smith, who looks forward to many years ahead of living and working in Telluride – not to mention skiing, mountain biking and rafting.