So how did this What’s the future of affordable housing in Lyons? mission of mine get started? Why did I become stubbornly optimistic that new affordable housing could work in Lyons, Colo., our town of less than 2,000 people, still recovering after devastating flooding in September 2013?
You could say it all started when a majority of Town of Lyons voters in a March 2015 special election mail ballot voted down a proposal for 50-70 affordable housing units proposed for 5-7 acres in the Bohn Park. The vote was 614 against the proposal and 498 for the proposal. That’s when I gathered together people who said they had other ideas that would work better and encouraged them to get to work. That’s when I pledged to write a WTF column in every edition of the weekly Lyons Recorder and in the monthly Redstone Review until new affordable housing is created in Lyons. I’m still writing those columns.
Or, maybe it all started when I joined the Housing Recovery Task Force in the months following the flood, in December 2013. I embarked on a series of volunteering on town advisory boards and commissions, attending marathon meetings, learning about flood recovery, resilience, other communities’ disaster stories, relief organizations, and government agencies and regulations.
But just as natural disasters change everyone they touch in a community, the widespread floods of September 2013 in Colorado were the original instigator of my current calling as an advocate, reporter, fact-checker, and town crier for affordable housing.
Thanks for reading, for sharing your stories, for dedicating your time, and for daring to hope with me,
Awarded first place for best news series in the 2016 Colorado Press Association Awards for a series of “What’s the fix for affordable housing in Lyons?” columns published in the Redstone Review (Class 10 category of monthly publications, up to 50,000 circulation)