Keeping Denver’s housing market in reach for all Denverites
We need to make sure people can afford to live here, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock writes…
Denver, your city is working hard to ensure families have housing options they can afford.
We have made great progress in helping first-time homebuyers, connecting families with new affordable options, protecting renters from eviction, and easing the tax burden on seniors and those with disabilities.
Today, one-quarter of all affordable homes here were created with city support over the past seven years. And in 2018, we will invest more money in one year than ever before to deliver housing Denver families can afford — $40 million.
But we are just getting started. Denver is stepping up our game, because this issue remains a primary challenge to our residents and families toward achieving the level of equity they work hard for and deserve, but is out of reach because the market is not responding to our residents’ needs.
On Monday, City Council passed my administration’s proposal to double the Affordable Housing Fund created in 2015 to $300 million using marijuana taxes. With it, we’ll be able to secure the building, preservation or land needed for more than 6,000 affordable homes for families over the next five years.
And in partnership with the Denver Housing Authority, we’ll use part of this to generate a surge of $105 million in upfront funding through bonds to accelerate building and preserving much-needed affordable housing. This step will also increase the land available for future affordable housing creation to support Denver’s lowest-income residents and those experiencing homelessness.
We’re not stopping there. I’m going to keep working with City Council, the Housing Advisory Committee and community partners to add new tools to our housing toolbox — land trusts, land banking, accessory dwelling units, a resident preference policy, extending minimum affordability periods are all being explored. We are also pushing to get more affordable housing from developers.
We can be the spark that helps get homes out of the ground, but the city can’t be the only ones. Congress needs to see this for the national issue that it is and provide the funding that matches the need. Our State Legislature needs to see that this isn’t just Denver’s issue alone, it’s affecting cities across Colorado. It’s vital that the State’s funding commitment in this year’s budget continues in future budgets.
And our private sector needs to step up to address what we as city leaders, our residents, stakeholders and the market are demanding — homes that are affordable. We can’t continue to put our recent economic successes at risk because the very people who jump-started and drove that success — the people of Denver — are pushed out because of costs. The demand and the need is there, it’s past time that the supply match it.
To ensure that our neighborhoods are accessible, inclusive and affordable, and that our economy extends opportunity to everyone, building more equity and access in Denver’s housing market should be everyone’s top priority – I know it’s mine. We need to make sure people can afford to live here. We need to protect what we love about our neighborhoods. This is how Denver will continue to rise – together.
Michael Hancock is the mayor of Denver.