For more information, please contact:
William Porter, Director of Communications, City of Aspen
Matthew Gillen, Executive Director, Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority
Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority Ramps Up Compliance Efforts
New Compliance Officer to Conduct Increased Audit of Ownership Units
ASPEN, CO, July 20, 2023 – In a decisive move, the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) is bolstering its compliance measures to maintain the integrity of its affordable housing program. This process aims to ensure that the 1,500 ownership units under the deed-restricted program continue to serve those genuinely eligible — those working and contributing to the local community. By holding the program's homeowners to strict adherence to the rules, APCHA underscores its commitment to preserving a fair, effective housing system. This enhanced auditing process is also a straightforward, practical step to guarantee the sustainability and fairness of Aspen's affordable housing program.
A new audit schedule of residents who own units in APCHA kicks off this month, with at least five properties selected randomly each month. Those who are under audit will have to provide documentation to verify that they meet the requirements to live in the subsidized housing program.
Homeowners must provide employment documentation and personal financial information to show that they work in Pitkin County at least nine months a year, meet income and asset limits, and do not own property within the Ownership Exclusion Zone.
The increased compliance effort is in response to a desire by the APCHA Board of Directors, the Aspen City Council, and the public to confirm that those who are living in taxpayer, subsidized deed-restricted units are working in Pitkin County and contributing to the community.
"Upholding the integrity of the public housing program is paramount to us, and the introduction of this comprehensive audit schedule is a concrete step towards validating the eligibility of residents within APCHA ownership units," stated Matthew Gillen, Executive Director of APCHA. “While we trust that most of our residents adhere to the requirements, this enhanced auditing process is an important reminder for those who may deviate. It aims to ensure that everyone remains consistent with our shared dedication to community and equitable access to affordable housing.”
The audit program is being overseen by Jackie Marinaro, who began as APCHA’s new Compliance Officer this past spring. Marinaro, who is a former attorney for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will focus solely on compliance for APCHA.
“I am excited to help APCHA increase efforts on program compliance.” she said. “This audit is a great opportunity for transparency and for APCHA to maximize access to the assets in the employee housing program, as well as ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly.”
Renters within APCHA requalify every two years and must provide tax returns, 1099 forms or pay stubs, as well as documentation showing assets and liabilities.
However, homeowners within APCHA are required every two years to sign an affidavit attesting that they meet the agency’s requirements but do not have to provide documentation.
“We're also intensifying our focus on the requalification process. There are certain issues that emerged after the COVID-19 crisis, such as providing clear definitions for self-employed and remote workers,” Marinaro said. “In response, APCHA is evaluating qualification criteria to ensure they resonate with the intent of employee, deed-restricted housing."
Individuals who do not meet APCHA requirements will have an opportunity to come into compliance and may be subject to penalties under a recently adopted schedule of fines that are based on the seriousness of the infraction and are part of the agency’s Employee Housing Regulations.
APCHA’s mission is to support affordable workforce housing for a sustainable community and a prosperous economy.
Gillen continued, "Our guiding principle is to pursue actions that are not only ethical but also serve the public's interest. APCHA is unwavering in its dedication to fostering an environment of fairness and equality in terms of access to affordable housing. By enhancing our auditing efforts, we aim to reinforce the integrity and trustworthiness of our program's housing inventory and occupancy."