LYONS, Colo. — Tara Skredynski and her son were looking forward to moving into the new affordable housing units in Lyons after receiving initial approval. But just days before their planned move in, they were told they were no longer eligible.
"It's really community-oriented. There's a lot of families there," Skredynski said of the small town of Lyons. "My son and I like to do a lot of outdoor things."
She jumped at the chance to apply for affordable housing at Lyons Valley Townhomes. As a single mother, she said it fit her budget perfectly. The units are set for income limits at a maximum of 60% of the average median income for Boulder County.
"It seemed like a great fit for us," she said.
She applied back in April.
"I sent them my last year's tax returns, and then I sent them my current W-2s. I also sent them all of my financials, like my bank account information, any other thing that was related to my income," she said.
In August, she got the news that she received initial approval to move into the unit when it was ready in December. Emails show a representative of Highland Property Management Inc. explaining a home was reserved for her. Text messages were sent with her new address and conversations were had concerning having her moving pod shipped to the new home.
A few days before her planned move-in date, she was told the property management found extra income she made from a side job over the last few months.
"It came from another contract job that I took on after I applied in April," Skredynski said, "I didn't say 'No' to any projects, but I didn't know that I was that close to being over the income limit."
It was an extra few hundred dollars, but it now made her ineligible for the housing.
"I had made so many plans. I have furniture that was shipped there. I have holiday cards that were sent to this address. I have a storage pod that was going to be delivered," she said.
Denver7 spoke to Paul Capps, President of Highland Property Management Company, on the phone.
He explained the housing project was made possible using federal low-income housing tax credits that require specific regulations for tenant income.
Capps said the company simply does not have the ability to make exceptions to those federal rules. He said had the extra income been disclosed back in April, the initial approval likely wouldn't have gone through.
Skredynski said she would have liked better communication back then as to what the expectations were. She's encouraging others to do their homework before applying for affordable housing so they don't end with a last-minute heartbreak.
"If they would have verified my income a long time ago and told me, 'Okay, you're still in the window. But if you make this much more, you will be pushed over the limit, and you won't qualify.' It could have just been a really simple communication process that just didn't happen. And sadly, now, I don't have a place to live," said Skredynski.
Capps said any move-in date given to prospective tenants are rough estimates contingent on final application approval, and when their employees discovered the extra income, that final approval could not be given.