Over the years, Janice Zelazo, who purchased a home in 1979 in the Newlands neighborhood north of downtown, watched as home values in Boulder increased drastically. An advocate for diverse and equitable communities, Janice was concerned her beloved home would not be affordable for future generations.
With no one to inherit her home, she started to explore options to preserve her home as a permanently affordable property so others, who may not have the means to purchase a market-rate home, could enjoy the charm and character of the Newlands neighborhood in the future. Janice connected with city staff to inquire about leaving her home to the city as a permanently affordable property.
Janice’s decision to pursue this option comes from her deeply rooted belief that we all play a part in helping one another. “I believe that we all have a responsibility to each other. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken that sense of responsibility more seriously,” said Janice. Janice shared more about her life and her participation in the program with the Carnegie Library’s Oral History project. Listen to the recording on the library’s website.
In 2017, after many years of hard work and determination, Janice became the first person to bequeath a home to the city’s newly formed Housing Legacy Program. To honor her role as the first participant in the program, Boulder City Council declared May 5, 2017, as Janice Zelazo Housing Legacy Day.
The Housing Legacy Program, enabled by the donation of properties from individuals, corporations and organizations, is dedicated to making homes in our community available to a variety of people. Program participants have the flexibility to outline the terms of their donation through their will. The program helps expand opportunities for homeownership to those with moderate and middle incomes, which helps to achieve economic diversity across the city. Learn more about the program on the city’s website.
Building the Legacy
After learning about Janice’s donation, Lyn Mead was inspired to become the second community member to leave this generous legacy in 2018. As an educator she understands that someone following her career path would not be able to purchase it in today’s market. “I feel a responsibility, a legacy if you will, to make the world a better place and this is a simple way to do it,” shared Lyn.
Recently, Matt Appelbaum and Joni Teter made the decision to become the third participants in the program. Both Matt and Joni are longtime advocates for affordable housing in Boulder and are excited to make a tangible contribution to Boulder’s affordable housing efforts through this donation. “One of the things I really like about this program is how it disperses [affordable] housing throughout the community,” said Joni.
Affordable housing is a vital component of a thriving community. Research shows that stable, affordable housing is crucial to a community's health, environment and overall well-being.
Community members who support the Housing Legacy Program are investing in the future of a diverse and affordable community. A planned gift to the Housing Legacy Program is a powerful expression of support for our community and enables the program to make affordable residential housing in Boulder a reality for future generations.
Donate your home to the Housing Legacy Program
If you would like to support affordable housing in Boulder by participating in this special program, please get in touch to discuss your options, get answers to your questions and learn about the process. For more information, contact Jay Sugnet, Housing Sr Manager, at 303-441-4057 or SugnetJ@bouldercolorado.gov.