Patrick Coyle has granted InsideRealEstateNews.com his first Q&A since being named as the new director of the Colorado Division of Housing.
Coyle is well-respected within affordable housing circles. Tom Hart, who previously held the job, said that Coyle will bring a wealth of experience working with the homeless, as well as the public and private sectors to make strides with the state’s growing affordable housing needs.
Name: Patrick Coyle
Age : 56
Hometown: Born in Alexandria, VA. Lived in Denver for 27 years
Family: Wife Gail married for 31 years; son John (25 yrs old ); daughter Gaelyn (23)
Education: BA political science Belmont Abbey College 1974
First Job: Painting 800 light poles on the National Mall in Washington. D.C.
Worst Job: Worked my way through high school as a night time janitor at my high school.
Last book read: Creating a World Without Poverty, by Muhammad Yunnus
Last movie watched: The Visitor
Question: What is your vision and what do you hope to accomplish?
Answer: My vision for the Division of Housing and affordable housing begins with lessons learned from our current recession. A balanced housing inventory supports our state’s economic growth and is a safety net for families and individuals. To achieve these goals, the Division of Housing must partner with local governments, lenders, Realtors, and housing and neighborhood organizations to increase affordable housing opportunities throughout the state. So my aim is to create stronger partnerships, maintain a disciplined investment strategy for housing development, increase affordable housing resources, and reach out to human services agencies to link housing and support services for at-risk households.
Question: Given your background, do you see a new emphasis on dealing with the homeless? If so, how can the Division address that problem?
Answer: I spent the last four years managing the housing programs for Denver’s Road Home and increasing the supply of housing for the homeless. The Division of Housing’s newest statewide initiative is the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program which is funded by new stimulus funds. This program will increase the division’s ability to prevent homelessness and increase housing resources for persons living in shelters. Beyond this new initiative the division must work more closely with human services programs throughout the state by creating housing for the homeless and linking the support services to these households so they can re-enter the workforce.
But, my background is not limited to addressing the needs of the homeless. It includes over 30 years experience in the full range of affordable housing development. This will enable me to expand the state’s programs to meet the increasing need for affordable homeownership and rental opportunities and continue the division’s efforts to reduce the number of foreclosures.
Question: The division has lost money in recent years, due due to budget problems. Do you think there is a chance that you can help get more resources?
Answer: Last year the division’s budget was reduced, but the need for affordable housing continues. I will make it a priority to increase funds available for affordable housing at both the state and level local. The division plays a critical role in minimizing the risk of private lenders and housing developers by injecting equity into local projects and lowering debt loads. So, in the current economic climate especially, it will be important to make sure that there are financial resources sufficient to meet the demand for affordable housing.
Question: How much money will the division will be allocated in stimulus funding? How will it be used?
Answer: The division will receive $8.1 million in stimulus funding from HUD next month for prevention and rapid re-housing of homeless families and individuals. The division has also received $38 million for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in response to the foreclosure crisis and is applying for an additional $52 million in stimulus funding to expand its efforts. I will be working with Susan Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs .to establish the department’s priorities for this funding.
Question: As a follow-up, do you have the money to administer the stimulus money? If not, what kind of problems could that lead to down the road in effectively spending the money?
Answer: Each of HUD’s stimulus programs comes with money to administer the programs. So the division will be able to effectively administer these programs.
Question: Some people might say that the soft housing market will take care of the housing affordability issue. Do you agree with that? If not, why not?
Answer: The same economic conditions that cause a soft housing market limit the ability of renters and home buyers from qualifying for leases and mortgages.
Loss of job, reduction in income, and tightening credit qualifications all limit a household’s ability to afford rent or qualify for a mortgage. For those households with limited but stable income, the soft market increases housing opportunities. It is important for local housing organizations to work with landlords and Realtors to find qualified clients for their listed properties.
It is important to note that the soft housing market is not statewide. There are several local housing markets, like Fort Collins, where vacancy rates have fallen to 4%.
Question: Affordable housing advocates for years, perhaps decades, have called for creating a statewide trust to help affordable housing. Would you be in favor of creating a trust? And given the harsh economic environment, do you think it is realistic in the near-term? And are there ways to fund it that won’t make it more costly to buy and sell a home, at a time when the home sales industry is in the doldrums?
Answer: I do support the creation of a housing trust fund. Colorado is one of a dozen states that does not have a housing trust or housing investment fund. I believe that puts Colorado at a competitive disadvantage with housing markets in other states. Being able to offer affordable housing opportunities at all income levels is a critical component of the state’s economic competitiveness. The price of housing directly impacts a state’s wage structure and business growth can be inhibited by spiraling wages. A stable housing market goes handin-hand with the state’s investment in economic development. Affordable housing for at-risk families and individuals presents both costs and benefits to to taxpayers who are asked to support social service programs. Limiting taxpayer burden is also critical to our state’s economic competitiveness.
This coming year, Housing Colorado and the leaders of the affordable housing community will be meeting with business and civic leaders throughout the state to ask this same question. This listening campaign is designed to gauge their perception of affordable housing and seek their advice on creating a housing investment fund.< class="related_post_title">Related Posts:>