ALAMOSA — La Puente, a non-profit whose operations are based on the south side of Alamosa, recently announced in a single notice published on Dec. 30, 2022, in the Valley Courier that they have applied for a $1.2 million grant from the Division of Housing to build a housing project on property located at 1201 State Ave.
Records obtained by the Valley Courier from the Alamosa County Assessor’s Office show the property was purchased by La Puente Housing Corporation on June 29, 2002.
Design plans for the project obtained from La Puente by the Valley Courier show a tri-plex consisting of three separate apartments — one three-bedroom apartment and two two-bedroom apartments — each with a separate entrance facing north. The residence currently located on the property will remain separated from the triplex by a sidewalk.
According to Amanda Pearson, interim director of the non-profit while Executive Director Lance Cheslock is on a 3-month sabbatical, La Puente originally had intentions to purchase the property as part of a five-year plan to build affordable housing in Alamosa, but the owner’s desire to sell on a shorter timeline prompted the June purchase.
“We were involved in a conversation with (Colorado Housing and Finance Authority) and the city about our extreme housing needs,” Pearson says. “We’re seeing that with our clients. We have vouchers that help the neediest people, but we also have people who just need a house. They have something in their background or their finances or their credit history that prevents them from getting a house. These people also have a job or some other income coming in, but they just can’t get a house.”
La Puente had “considered other bigger projects but we just don’t have the bandwidth,” she says. They then approached staff at Adelante, a division of La Puente that manages other properties, who said they could handle “maybe four more properties.”
Although she “didn’t have the information right in front of her,” Pearson says Adelante currently manages Over the Rainbow at Rainbows End, three other triplexes located behind Big R, and “maybe” three houses around town, all owned by La Puente.
During community meetings conducted by residents of the south side of Alamosa and La Puente last September, opposition was voiced by the non-profits expanding footprint in a neighborhood many residents feel is already the site of too many of La Puente’s programs servicing people in need.
At that time, numerous stories were shared by people who had complaints about the impact that the shelter and proximity to St. Benedict’s Encampment had on the safety and quality of life in the south side community.
When reminded of those concerns, Pearson says, “This (project) is not for people with extreme need. This is for people with low to moderate income who are not suffering from extreme need for services. We worked really hard to make sure we were fitting into the character of the neighborhood and not adding a burden to the neighborhood. The people may be clients of La Puente, but they are people who have contacted us who just need a house, like maybe there’s a bad credit history or there has been an eviction and can’t get into a place, and that side of town is more affordable.”
She also added that maintenance staff from La Puente will be maintaining the grounds.
The notice published in the Valley Courier stated that a public hearing will be held on the project if requested. If a public hearing is going to be held could not be confirmed by press time.
In response to this news, the Valley Courier has been contacted by residents of the south side, but contact could not be made before the newspaper went to press. A separate story reporting on their perspective of the project will be run in an edition of the Valley Courier within the next few days.