10M revolving loan fund launched to boost Denver affordable housing
By Claire Martin and Steve Raabe
The Denver Post
The fund will support the development of multifamily rental units for individuals and families earning up to 60 percent of the area's median income, capped at $46,020 for a family of four.
About 35 percent of Denver households at that income level pay more than 30 percent of their total income for housing.
Moments before the announcement, Hancock compared Denver's affordable housing problem to Aspen's.
"Aspen workers can't afford to live where they work," he said. "We are fast approaching that scenario in Denver."
Hancock announced the fund Friday at Bridging The Gap, a housing forum drawing more than 300 urban planners, elected officials and policy makers from Colorado and the U.S.
Many analysts view housing affordability in Colorado as a crisis — one that could have far-reaching implications in jobs, economic development, tax revenues and costs of social services.
The new loan program is funded by $6 million from the city and county of Denver, $3 million from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and $1 million from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
The new fund will target projects that are eligible for but may not receive low-income housing credits from CHFA.
In November, the Denver city auditor's performance audit concluded that a shortage of affordable housing could hurt Denver's economic and social structure. The report said Denver places more emphasis on economic development than on affordable housing when it allocates federal Community Development Block Grant funds.
The new program does not include CDBG funds.
Friday's announcement of the revolving loan fund "is a good step," said Denis Berckefeldt, director of communications for the auditor's office.
"The question is, is it a big enough step and more than just a Band-Aid?" he said.
"We're short about 26,000 affordable rental units today, and that gap grows every year."
Rick Padilla, director of housing and neighborhood development for the Denver Office of Economic Development, said the fund initially will provide loans for about six or seven apartment projects totalling 800 to 1,000 affordable units. Most of the projects will be a mix of affordable and market-rate units