The NWCCOG Economic Development District exists to increase capacity in our communities so that they can accomplish the goals set out in their local plans. One way we do this is by building partnerships with our federal and state partners to leverage funds for key projects which aim to do just that. One example of this in action is the partnership between NWCCOG, USDA Rural Development, and Eagle County to bring over $180,000 in funding for improvements to the Golden Eagle Senior Apartments in Eagle.
Golden Eagle has provided 36 units of housing for low-income older adults since 1986. NWCCOG has helped secure a USDA Housing Preservation Grant to fund improvements to this housing development over the years since 2009, resulting in over $180,000 in funds. The grant funded the construction of a second egress by replacing the dining room window in each unit with a sliding glass door directly to outside, along with a patio. These improvements serve to to enhance the health and safety for residents. This project has been done in phases, with the final phase (final 12 units) completed in 2021 with a grant of $87,000 from the USDA. NWCCOG has served as the grant administration and fiscal agent for this project.
Eagle County is an “Age Friendly Community’, as designated by AARP. As such, the county has developed an Aging Well Plan, whose vision is as follows: Eagle County older adults age in place with the highest possible quality of life. NWCCOG is proud to be partner in bring improvements to the Golden Eagle Senior Apartments which serves to help fulfill this mission. Read more about the goals set out in the Eagle County Aging Well Plan here.
The Golden Eagle Senior Apartments are income and age restricted rental apartments in the heart of Eagle. All residents must be 62 years of age or older and income qualified. Located within walking distance of the downtown Eagle area, residents have easy access to ECO Transit bus service, medical facilities, and the Senior Center where health and wellness programs are offered weekly as well as bingo, games, card playing, and reading groups.
“We were awarded grant funding to complete multiple projects on property that assist in the safety and wellbeing of our senior community. We're so grateful to receive these funds and have worked hard this year to improve our property”, Dan Murray, Portfolio Manager, Eagle County Housing & Development Authority.
Older adults add so much value to our region’s communities, so the availability of affordable housing is so important. According to Matt Andrews, Property Manager for Golden Eagle, residents who live at the property work in the community at the market, library, school, courts, and more; they volunteer their time to deliver meals, provide transportation to other older adults to appointments, crochet blankets for newborns at Vail Health, play piano for seniors at the Senior Center and Castle Peak Assisted Living, and volunteer their time at food banks, do gardening, assist at church services, provide babysitting, teach artist classes, and assist with voter services.
The population of Eagle County’s older adults is expected to continue to grow, exponentially, through 2035 as the Baby Boomers age in community. The 2020 population of residents over 65 is 7199 and is expected to nearly double to 14,160 in 2035. Of these older adults, 2491 (35%) continue to be in the labor force and 1077 live alone. Eagle County continues to anticipate, examine and prepare for this growth in older adult population through the creation of policies, programs and services for residents of all ages.
Erin Fisher, Director of Vintage (the Area Agency on Aging for the five county region including Eagle County) states, “In 2020, NWCCOG and Vintage released an Older Adult Housing Needs Assessment, and the results highlight just how important and impactful it is for our communities to have affordable and accessible housing for the age continuum, inclusive of older adults. The state of Colorado is one of the fastest aging states in the nation and retaining that older adult population is vital to our mountain communities. For the NWCCOG region, the economic contribution of older adults in 2018 for both paid and unpaid (including volunteering and caregiving) work totaled $21 billion and incorporating aging in place improvements like the ones at the Golden Eagle Senior Apartments is a great example of supporting older adults and the community at large.”
NWCCOG and Eagle County greatly appreciate the financial support from the USDA Rural Development for providing these essential health and safety improvements to this property.