Yampa Valley Housing Authority director resigns

Elizabeth Black has resigned as executive director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

Black unexpectedly announced her resignation Thursday at the end of a Housing Authority board meeting in Centennial Hall. The decision comes at a tumultuous time for the Housing Authority, which is searching for a permanent funding source, considering a tax-related ballot issue in November, undertaking an affordable housing project on Elk River Road and managing its recently purchased Fish Creek Mobile Home Park. Questions also remain about the Housing Authority's role in relation to city housing projects and the Steamboat Springs City Council, a topic that has fueled discussion at recent meetings between the two groups.

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Black's resignation is effective July 15.

"It certainly leaves the Housing Authority in a flux," said Curtis Church, project manager for the Housing Authority. "Where it goes from here, I'm not sure."

Mary Alice Page-Allen, president of the Housing Authority's board of directors, said she was surprised to hear Black's announcement Thursday. But she said firmly that Housing Authority projects "will not miss a beat."

"I think there will be a level of continuity regardless of the changing of the guard," Page-Allen said. "Curtis (Church) is very capable as far as project management goes, and we have some very capable board members. All of us will pitch in to get it done. ...We will in very short order be advertising and searching for a new executive director."

Black has served as the Housing Authority's executive director since March 2005. During her tenure, she spearheaded development of the 30-unit Fox Creek Village on Hilltop Parkway along with initial planning for the Elk River Village project on Routt County Road 129.

In March 2006, Black began teaching monthly Homebuyer Education classes that have enabled about 175 local residents to qualify for down payment assistance.

"My favorite part of the job has been teaching people how to be responsible homeowners," Black said Friday. "I am very proud of connecting with the clients we have had -- I love all my clients."

Black's final homebuyer class is scheduled for July 14.

"I don't really know what will happen after that," Black said about her future. "I have a lot of good ideas, but no firm plans."

Black said she is staying in the Yampa Valley and hopes to continue working in housing and local government issues in some capacity.

Page-Allen acknowledged that "there's going to be some gaps" in the Housing Authority's community outreach and programs following Black's absence.

"I think it pushes the Housing Authority's evolution back," City Council President Susan Dellinger said about Black's departure. "It's a tough time right now for the Housing Authority. We've got to get their feet under them."

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