The economic recession has hit the real estate business hard, and Durango is no exception. But one struggling group has found sanctuary with a new affordable-housing complex.
The Cedar View Apartments Phase II, which opened this spring, provides subsidized housing to people who are 62 or older.
Sarada Leavenworth, division director for Volunteers of America, which runs the complex, said there is a huge need for affordable housing for Durangos aged.
The cost of housing keeps going up, but so does the number of elderly who are in need of homes, and there are not many affordable places in the area, she said.
Cedar View first came to Durango in 2006 with the Phase I complex that contains 30 units. It filled up within three months of being built. Leavenworth said VOA started a waiting list and planning for a new building to address the high need for housing for the elderly.
The complex has been a success, and the tenants rave about the design of the building and the amenities, as well as its central location off 32nd Street.
Tenant Annelore Miller, 79, said she lived in an affordable-housing complex for the elderly in Pennsylvania that was old and rundown, but she loves her apartment in Durango.
I always feel like writing the architects and letting them know how nice it is, Miller said.
The complex features amenities such as a game room, communal library where residents donate books, a theater, laundry room and a community room that has a table for free stuff, items residents no longer want that others can take.
Miller described the experience as living with a bunch of sisters and a few brothers, as women dominate the complex.
Cedar View provides subsidized living, meaning it takes 30 percent of a persons adjusted monthly income for rent, including all utilities. To qualify, the renter must have an income of about $23,000 or less, or $26,500 for a couple.
The complex is federally funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay for the rest of the costs. Volunteers of America is in charge of managing the complex.
Tenant Carol Krupa, 75, said she is thankful to have the housing and calls it a vacation. She visited Durango twice a year for 16 years before her son moved her here from Michigan. She sold her car before the move and appreciates the towns public transportation.
I love the bus. Ive met a lot of people, and I know all the drivers, Krupa said. It made me feel at home.
The complex is for the elderly, but it is not assisted living. All the residents must be able to care for themselves, but there are some programs that come in to help, such as Meals on Wheels.
There also is an emergency pull string in the bathroom and bedroom of the units should the residents find themselves in trouble.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Phase II will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon Friday. Some of the residents will have their units open for people to walk through.
Leavenworth said a new building isnt currently in the works, but a waiting list is available for the Cedar View Phase I and II.