Proposition 123 in Cortez and Montezuma County

Proposition 123 established the State Affordable Housing Fund, a sustainable funding source for Colorado communities to make progress in addressing housing affordability challenges.

This bill was approved by Colorado voters in 2022. In 2023, the City of Cortez, Town of Dolores, Town of Mancos, Montezuma County, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe opted-in to Proposition 123. This will allow housing developers (governmental, tribal, nonprofit & for-profit) to be eligible for grant and low-interest loan programs to build affordable housing in the given jurisdiction.

Part of opting-in meant establishing a baseline number of affordable units in a community, and commitment to increasing the stock of affordable units by 3% each year for three consecutive years. View the table below to see the baseline and commitments of the jurisdictions in Montezuma County:

JurisdictionBaseline Affordable UnitsYearly Commitment to BuildAggregate 3-Year Commitment
City of Cortez9863089
Town of Dolores297926
Town of Mancos158514
Montezuma County3191028
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe6025

How was the baseline affordable units determined?

The State of Colorado required that the baseline of affordable units be determined by data collected from The American Community Survey (ACS) or the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS). These data sets determined the number of households living at various income levels and how many units in each jurisdiction would be available and affordable for those household to rent or buy.

"Affordable" in this context means that an individual or family is spending no more than 30% of their annual income on housing costs. Families spending more than 30% of their annual income on housing are concerned "cost-burdened." Nearly 50% of families in Cortez and Montezuma County are cost-burdened. You can read more about cost-burdened households in the Cortez Housing Needs Assessment

Every unit is affordable for someone, but in passing Proposition 123 the State of Colorado wanted to focus on households living at a moderate to low income level. The State determined that for sale units are considered affordable when a household living at 100% area median income (AMI) is spending no more than 30% of their annual income on housing and rental units are concerned affordable for households at 60% AMI.

You can learn about how the City of Cortez established the baseline affordable units by viewing this presentation, or watch the presentation to City Council given on October 10, 2023.

Common Housing Words & Acronyms

Word or AcronymDefinition & Description
AMI"Area Median Income" refers to the median (middle) income of a county. It is a common unit of measurement when discussion affordable housing. AMI is published annually by the Department for Housing & Urban Development.

The area median income for Montezuma County can be found on page 20 of the Housing Action Plan.
Affordable HousingAffordable Housing can mean a lot of different thing. In many Colorado state initiatives an "affordable" house for purchase is at or under 30% of the annual income for a person at 100% AMI. An affordable house for rent would mean 30% of the annual income, divided by 12 months, for a person at or below 60% AMI.

In Cortez, these data points can be interpreted as a house for sale being below $220,000 or $1,000 for rent.
Attainable Housing
Workforce Housing
These are both buzz-words that housing advocates use to describe "affordable housing." Sometimes, affordable housing can be equated with low-income housing. While this is an important feature of affordable housing policy, words like "workforce" or "attainable" reinforce the fact that affordable housing policy also concerns the "missing-middle" and housing for ALL residents. These "missing-middle" households would be in the 80% - 120% AMI, or a family earning approximately $53,000 - $80,000 per year.


Proposition 123 Funding Opportunities for Developers

Check here for updates on Proposition 123 Funding Opportunities. Many opportunities for 2024 have not been announced yet.

Sign up for the State of Colorado Affordable Housing Financing Fund eNews

Colorado Housing and Financing Association (CHFA)

General Information about Proposition 123

Colorado Affordable Housing Fund Allocation


Proposition 123 Program Income Limits


AMI Income Limits in Montezuma County

AMI is an acronym for "area media income." AMI refers to the median (middle) income of a county. It is a common unit of measurement when discussion affordable housing. AMI is published annually by the US Department for Housing & Urban Development.

The AMI of a property's indented resident will be used to determine what Proposition 123 funding a project is eligible for. You can view the table below to find the income limits for a households in Montezuma of various sizes.

Montezuma County AMI Limits

Household Size60% AMI80% AMI100% AMI120% AMI
1 Person$34,560$46,080$57,600$69,120
2 Person$39,480$52,640$65,800$78,960
3 Person$44,400$59,200$74,000$88,800
4 Person$49,320$65,760$82,200$98,640
5 Person$53,280$71,040$88,800$106,560
6 Person$57,240$76,320$95,400$114,480

*US Department of HUD, 2022 Adjusted Home Income Limits

What Is "Affordable"?

In Proposition 123 funding, generally rental programs will be limited to 60-80% AMI. Home-ownership programs will be limited to 100-120% AMI. The image below is taken from the City of Cortez Housing Needs Assessment (2023) and provides an idea of what "affordable housing" means for a 2-Person Household at various AMI levels.

Max Affordable Housing in Montezuma based on 2-Person Household AMI

Proposition 123 Programs and Funding Allocation

Proposition 123 June 2023 Funding Forecast