Boulder flood victims facing housing crunch

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BOULDER. Colo. -- As if the housing crunch in Boulder isn't bad enough, some flood victims who've been staying in the city's hotels will soon have to make way for, of all things, football.

Fans who booked rooms months in advance will be given preference next weekend at places like the Boulder Outlook Hotel when the C.U. Buffs host Oregon at Folsom Field.

"I'd avoid it in a heartbeat if I could," said Dan King, the hotel's owner. "It's much more important to serve the people who are displaced, not to make them have to pack up their bags and go someplace else. But we basically have contracts months ahead for these rooms so we can't get out of it."

King said his hotel, which is normally at 60 percent occupancy in September, has been at 100 percent since the floods swept through Boulder several weeks ago. Facilities like his are helping fill the gap for residents whose homes and apartments were damaged or destroyed and then encountered a very tight rental market.

"So many people have been looking for housing and everybody that I've told that I found a place in a day or two, they've been like, 'What?'" Amy Finney said. The basement she was renting flooded. She said she considered herself pretty lucky.

"It's been a real challenge to find housing for a lot of these people," said Stephanie Lannone, the owner of Housing Helpers, a Boulder property locator. "Partly because they're not really sure how long they're going to need a property for."

Lannone said residents who are willing to commit to a longer lease, have few or no pets, and are prepared to live outside of Boulder have the best odds at the moment of finding a place. Housing Helpers announced Friday it will list for free properties with only 30 or 60-day leases that are geared specifically to flood victims.

In the meantime, King said his hotel will be open for business to those victims once the October 5th game is over.

"We can't get out of it, Oregon's coming," he said with a laugh.


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