The Boulder Housing Coalition (BHC) cooperatives have been developed with grant assistance from the City of Boulder’s affordable housing program. Without this city support there probably wouldn’t be any cooperatives in Boulder today. In exchange for this financial support the BHC has signed legal covenants requiring nearly all of the residents of our co-ops to income qualify.
A household is a group of people related by blood or other legal means, such as adoption or marriage. For example, a single parent with 2 children would make up one household, consisting of 3 persons. A household may also consist of a single person. Each of our cooperatives has a different covenant, and each covenant has different income requirements. This is because we acquired the houses at different times in the evolution of Boulder’s real estate market, and they received different levels of support from the City (and in some cases County) of Boulder.
- Masala needs 10 income qualifying households. As of 2020, this means a single person household at Masala may not earn more than $61,710/yr.
- Chrysalis needs 11 income qualifying households. As of 2020, a single person household at Chrysalis may not earn more than $48,360/yr.
- Ostara needs 20 income qualifying households. As of 2020, ten of those households must earn less than $40,300/yr, and ten of them must earn less than $32,240/yr.
- Ingram needs 10 income qualifying households. As of 2020, five of those households must earn less than $40,300/yr, and five of them must earn less than $32,240/yr.
Larger households will have higher income caps. Contact us for the exact numbers if your household has more than one member.
All households, regardless of size, will need to provide documentation showing their liquid assets do not exceed $55,000.
Residents must complete the income qualification process each year they live in the cooperatives, prior to renewing their leases. For the process to be complete the BHC Executive Director must have a copy of the resident’s signed lease and their income qualification paperwork on file. New residents may not move in until the income qualification process has been completed — so it’s a good idea to get it started at the beginning of the application process, since employers occasionally take a while to return the forms. The Membership Coordinator for the co-op you are applying to will work with you and the BHC Executive Director to make sure all the necessary paperwork is turned in.
In addition to not making too much money, you must also demonstrate that you have enough earned income to at least cover your rent, food and utilities.
What is Documented Earned Income?
The most common type of earned income is wages from a job. This can include self-employment income (that you report to the IRS), income from work-study, research and teaching assistantships, paid internships, etc. Most government benefit programs also qualify (Social Security, AFDC, Section 8 vouchers, etc. — for details contact the Executive Director). Child support payments, financial help from a family member or friend, can also be documented earned income.
Financial support you receive from your parents or other family members, student loans and grants, or money withdrawn from your own previously accumulated savings do not qualify.
You will need to provide proof of your documented earned income. Depending on the source of your income, there are different processes for providing this proof. Most commonly, you will have your employer fill out our verification of employment form (which you can download below). The completed form is then sent directly from your employer to the BHC by fax or email (hand delivered income qualification paperwork cannot be accepted). If you have more than one job, you must have each of your employers compete this form.
If you have income that doesn’t come from being employed by someone else, there are other income qualification procedures. If you are self employed you will need to provide your last 3 years of federal tax returns. If you are unemployed at the time of your application to live in one of the co-ops, you will not be able to income qualify. Should you become unemployed while living in one of the co-ops, there is another process available that will allow you to renew your lease, provided you have savings sufficient to fulfill your lease obligations. If you’re in one of these less common situations, contact the BHC Executive Director for more information.
Once you have income qualified and moved into one of the co-ops, your income may increase up to 40% beyond the cap, and you will still be allowed to renew your lease. If your income exceeds 140% of the income cap you will not be able to renew your lease.
Example 1: Linda works in a coffee shop and makes $200 a week in wages and tips. She works 50 weeks a year. She also works as a nanny for $50 a week for 50 weeks a year. Her total annual income is: (50 x $200) + (50 x $50) = $10,000 + $2,500 = $12,500. Each month at the Chrysalis Co-op Linda will be paying $500 in rent, $60 in utilities, and $145 for house food. Her financial obligation will thus be $500 + $60 + $145 = $705 per month, or $8,460 per year. Linda’s documented earned income of $12,500 is more than her financial obligation ($8,460), and less than the Chrysalis income cap ($38,250), so she will qualify to live at Chrysalis.
Example 2: Bobby wants to live at Masala, he receives $12,000 in Stafford student loans and a $4,000 Pell grant this year. He also works for the CU Rec Center part time, earning $100 per week for 50 weeks out of the year. Bobby’s employer has emailed the BHC ED a form that documents his earned income of $5,000 per year. He wants to live at the Masala Co-op in a room that rents for $550 a month, plus $60 in utilities. Masala’s house food assessment is $160 per month. His financial obligation will thus be $550 + $60 + $160 = $770 per month, or $9240 per year. Bobby will not income qualify, because his documented earned income of $5,000 per year is less than his annual financial obligation to Masala of $9,240.
In addition, as a STUDENT Bobby will only qualify if he can meet one of the following conditions: 1. He is older than 24 years of age or 2. he has a documented disability or 3. he has dependents or 4) He is a veteran.
Example 3: Jolie is a nurse at Boulder Community Hospital earning $35,000 per year. Jolie wants to live at Ostara in one of the family apartments. Her income is greater than the income cap for a single person at Ostara, but Jolie has 2 children so her household has 3 members. In 2016 the income cap for a 3 person household in Boulder County (at 50% of area median income) is $42,700. Thus Jolie can income qualify to live at North Haven.
Example 4: Darby is a teacher at a local preschool where they make $28,000 per year. Darby’s parent passed away a few years ago and Darby inherited $60,000. They invested in a traditional IRA which they will be able to draw from in 5 years when they turn 59 1/2. Darby is applying to live at Ingram Court, where they are below the income cap for a single person. Even though Darby has over $55,000 in their IRA, they aren’t at an age where they can draw from it without penalty, so this account does not count as liquid assets. Darby is able to income qualify for Ingram Court.