Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced a new $ 10 million revolving loan fund to help address the city’s housing crisis.
The fund will support the development of multi-family rental units for individuals and families earning up to 60 percent of the median income in the area, capped at $ 46,020 for a family of four.
About 35 percent of Denver households at this income level pay more than 30 percent of their total income to build housing.
Just before the announcement, Hancock compared Denver’s affordable housing problem to Aspen’s.
“Aspen workers cannot afford to live where they work,” he said. “We are rapidly approaching this scenario in Denver.”
Hancock announced the fund on Friday at Bridging The Gap, a housing forum attended by more than 300 city planners, elected officials and policymakers from Colorado and the United States
Many analysts view Colorado housing affordability as a crisis that could have far-reaching implications for jobs, economic development, tax revenues, and social service costs.
The new loan program is funded by the City and County of Denver for $ 6 million, $ 3 million from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, and $ 1 million from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
The new fund targets projects that qualify for low-income home loans from CHFA but may not receive them.
In November, the Denver City Chartered Accountant’s performance review concluded that a lack of affordable housing could affect Denver’s economic and social fabric. The report said Denver places greater emphasis on economic development than on affordable housing when allocating funds from the federal Community Development Block Grant.
The new program does not contain any CDBG funding.
The announcement of the revolving loan fund on Friday “is a good step,” said Denis Berckefeldt, communications director at the auditor’s office.
“The question is, is it a big enough step and more than just a band-aid?” he said.
“We have close to 26,000 affordable rental units today, and that gap is growing every year.”
Rick Padilla, director of housing and neighborhood development for the Denver Office of Economic Development, said the fund will initially provide loans for about six or seven housing projects totaling 800 to 1,000 affordable units. Most projects will be a mix of affordable and marketable units.