Need more housing? Give money to builders

To the editor:

After attending a state of the valley presentation where local government officials explained that they rate “attainable housing” as a top priority, it occurred to me that there might be a simple way for local governments to financially assist with this issue: give money to construction companies. 

The City of Grand Junction, for one, has delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars to local businesses, nonprofit organizations and Colorado Mesa University — just during the past pandemic-impacted year — in an effort to purportedly meet the needs of the jobless and to boost the local economy.  

Our latest problem, the rapid rise in housing prices, is undoubtedly caused in part by high demand and low supply. But developers in town explain that they can only build so many houses due to the escalating cost of materials and due to higher building impact fees imposed by Grand Junction City Council over the past 18 months. Would it be so crazy for the city to start sending money to these home-producing and job-producing companies that must raise the price of houses to meet higher construction costs — before the companies even consider the supply and demand issue? Such a program would be more than an act of charity — it would be a direct stimulus that could help level off the price of housing over time while speeding up the construction of more affordable houses.

Michael Moran, Grand Junction