High Plains Housing Development Corp. (High Plains) was established in 1994 by community leaders from the City of Greeley, Weld County, and United Way of Weld County, to prevent community deterioration in low income areas, and to assist low-to-moderate income individuals and families through affordable housing development strategies. The organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and is governed by a nine member volunteer board of directors with representation from low income households or neighborhoods, the business community, and affordable housing advocates. High Plains is a designated Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing. A CHDO is a private nonprofit, community-based organization that has staff with the capacity to develop affordable housing for the community it serves. In order to qualify for designation as a CHDO, the organization must meet certain requirements pertaining to their legal status, organizational structure, and capacity and experience.
In its early years under the umbrella of the Greeley/Weld Housing Authority (GWHA), High Plains developed three tax credit properties with 64 total housing units serving very low income seniors and families. These properties continue to provide stable housing more than 20 years later, and are managed by the GWHA.
In 2017-18 the United Way of Weld County’s Weld’s Way Home initiative established an affordable housing task force as one of eight strategies to address the community’s growing homelessness. The task force identified that reorganizing High Plains as a stand-alone, nonprofit affordable housing development organization would be an effective vehicle for proactively attracting and developing new housing projects to meet the needs of the very low income population. A new board was formed in 2018, and a new Executive Director, Jodi Hartmann, was hired in August, 2019.
As a mission-driven, local, nonprofit developer that intends to develop locally-owned permanent affordable housing projects, the niche that High Plains is strategically best aligned to address are those projects/populations/needs that larger for-profit affordable housing developers are not meeting: small-scale Permanent Supportive Housing projects and workforce housing designed to target extremely low income households (30%-50%) and vulnerable, chronically-homeless individuals. Because PSH and extremely low income projects are more complex to develop, finance, and operate (particularly PSH) with lower margins, nonprofit developers like High Plains often take the lead in developing these projects.