Agricultural workers and their families have a new home at Sol Naciente in Fort Morgan, Colo.
The 50-unit affordable housing community serves the area’s large population of dairy farm, food plant, and other agricultural workers.
“The completion of Sol Naciente serves as a working model for what can be accomplished when public-private partners come together with a common cause to improve the living conditions of working families, sustain a strong local workforce, and create a vibrant economy,” says developer Al Gold, executive director of Community Resources and Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit that has built more than 500 units of farmworker housing units across Colorado.
A shortage of workforce housing in town has meant many people have had to commute an hour or more to work each day, he says. The new development helps relieve the pressures of high housing costs and a long commute for its residents.
At Sol Naciente, 65% of a household’s income must derive from agricultural labor, and annual household income must be no more than 60% of the area median income, which is $32,400 for a three-person household in Morgan County.
The approximately $13 million development is the first family-oriented rental housing development built in the area in more than 20 years, according to officials.
Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) awarded $882,402 in federal low-income housing tax credits in 2014 to support the development of Sol Naciente, which has solar panels and other green-building features.
“The combination of available housing and jobs is essential to the prosperity of any community. CHFA is pleased to see Sol Naciente help address the need for affordable rental housing here in Fort Morgan, and open its doors to the hard-working families of this area,” says Cris White, executive director and CEO of CHFA.
Project partners include Boston Capital, Wells Fargo, Colorado Division of Housing, Enterprise Community Partners, NeighborWorks America, city of Fort Morgan, U.S. Department of Agriculture—Rural Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, and Chicanos Por La Causa.