Sterling gets DOLA grant to start planning affordable housing – South Platte Sentinel

The city of Sterling received a $36,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to help write an affordable housing strategic plan.

DOLA executive director Rick Garcia recently told Sterling City manager Kevin Blankenship about the award.

“This is a first step towards more grants that we will need to put a plan into action,” Blankenship said. “This is a planning grant, and it gives us the funds to develop a strategic plan for affordable housing.

The city manager credited the work of Greg Etl and Mitch Hendrick of DOLA. Etl is the Northeast Regional Representative for DOLA and Hendrick is the Program Manager of Innovative Affordable Housing Strategies.

“Greg’s work was absolutely essential to us getting this grant, and we really want to thank him for his work,” Blankenship said. “Mitch Hendrick is the guy my team and I will be working with going forward, and we’re really excited to be working with him.”

Blankenship said Sterling would hire a consultant to advise them on creating the strategic plan. Although it sounds like vague buzzwords, strategic planning is the key to a successful major project. The city will identify its goals — to make affordable housing more accessible to residents, for example — and then determine what the city can do to achieve those goals. Performance management, such as measuring completion of required milestones on time, etc., is used to assess project progress.

In her letter to Blankenship, Garcia said DOLA grants are funded by Bill 21-1271, which is officially titled Innovative Affordable Housing Strategies. This bill created a $39 million fund to help local governments develop affordable housing. It is a mix of state and federal stimulus funds.

“Your project has been reviewed based on various factors such as its link to readiness, capacity, impact on housing, political support and equity, diversity and inclusion in stakeholder engagement and the community,” Garcia said. “We support your work and are excited to share your findings with other local governments, the governor’s office and the legislature.”

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