Exploring APCHA: Pioneering Affordable Workforce Housing in Aspen/Pitkin County for Locals

Stephanie Kroll

In the heart of Colorado's scenic landscapes, a unique initiative has been addressing workforce housing needs since the mid-1970s. The Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) began as a response to the diminishing availability of free-market employee housing in Aspen and Pitkin County. This vital program has grown to become North America's oldest and largest mountain resort workforce housing initiative, offering a beacon of stability for its residents.

Foundational Beginnings

The journey of APCHA started in the 1970s, but it was in 1982 that a significant development occurred—an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Aspen and Pitkin County. This agreement solidified APCHA as an independent, multi-jurisdictional housing authority dedicated to overseeing affordable housing for low, moderate, and middle-income individuals who are permanent residents and employed full-time within the City and County.

Mission and Vision: A Future Built on Inclusivity and Prosperity

APCHA’s mission is to support affordable workforce housing that underpins a sustainable community and a flourishing economy. Through equitable policies, accountable management, and innovative development, APCHA meets the evolving needs of its residents and the broader community, ensuring effective communication and partnership to fulfill its goals.

The vision is bold and forward-looking: APCHA aspires to cultivate the country’s most vibrant mountain community—diverse, connected, healthy, and thriving.

Core Values and Commitment to Community

The essence of APCHA’s operations is encapsulated in its core values:

  • Public Trust: Upholding ethical practices and ensuring the housing program's integrity and accountability.
  • Quality Service: Delivering respectful, friendly, and proactive customer service, emphasizing fairness and compassion.
  • Transparency: Enhancing public awareness and understanding through clear and frequent communication.
  • Accountability: Promoting integrity in inventory and occupancy, adopting best practices and ensuring excellent governance.
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness: Implementing advanced systems and processes to enhance efficiency and demonstrate verifiable results.
  • Equity: Ensuring equal access to housing for qualified workers across various income levels.
  • Innovation: Encouraging creative solutions and cooperation within the community to address emerging challenges.

Strategic Goals: Ensuring Excellence and Integrity

APCHA is guided by strategic goals aimed at maintaining its relevance and efficacy:

  1. Organizational Excellence: Enhancing institutional structure and credibility through strong governance and decision-making.
  2. Financial and Housing Stock Wellbeing: Managing a robust housing inventory within current financial realities and expanding funding sources.
  3. Integrity of Social Compact: Ensuring clear communication and understanding between APCHA, its residents, and the community to uphold a shared social compact.
  4. Public Trust: Earning and maintaining the trust required to effectively serve the community.
  5. Community Building through Housing Expertise: Applying decades of experience to address changing workforce housing needs as demographics and work patterns evolve.

How to Engage with APCHA

For those interested in APCHA’s housing options, the requirements include full-time employment in Pitkin County, use of the APCHA unit as a primary residence, and the non-ownership of other developed residential property within the designated exclusion zone. Prospective applicants must submit a comprehensive set of documents including a sales qualification application, identification, financial statements, and proof of employment, among others.


As APCHA continues to lead with its innovative approaches and dedicated service, it remains a critical element in fostering a stable, vibrant community in Aspen and Pitkin County. Through its comprehensive strategy and enduring commitment, APCHA not only addresses immediate housing needs but also shapes a thriving, inclusive future for its residents and the wider community.

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