The Affordable Housing crisis for families in Denver

I recently attended a meeting of MAAH (Mothers Advocate for Affordable VCOGbrVPUAskuUl-800x450-noPadHousing) and was encouraged to see all of the interested Real Estate Professionals, Non-profit organizations and Government representatives there wanting to find a way to change Denver’s almost crippling housing situation.

What wasn’t encouraging was the statistics I heard and the almost insurmountable problem that keeps getting worse by the day.

Here are the facts.

According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Organization, the Metro Denver region had a 1.5 percent population growth rate between 2004 and 2014 and is consistently ranked as one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation. Metro Denver has a population of more than three million people, and has a growth rate that has consistently outpaced the national rate every decade since the 1930s. The region grew steadily in the past 10 years, and by 2020, Metro Denver’s population is anticipated to increase to more than 3.3 million.

But what’s left after housing costs for a family of four? A family that earns an annual income of roughly $59,000 and spends just 30% of their monthly income on housing lives on a very tight budget. If this family, like 25% of Colorado renters, spends more than 50% on housing, then essential living expenses have to be cut.

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courtesy of liveaffordablycolorado.org
  • 1 in 4 Colorado renters spend more than 50% of their household income on housing.
  • 1 in 3 Colorado children are living in households with a high housing cost burden that puts their other needs at risk.
  • A minimum wage worker ($8/hr) needs to clock in over 80 hours/week to afford a simple two-bedroom apartment.

So what can we do about it?

There are a series of bills that go before state legislature that will have direct and positive impact on housing needs for individuals and families throughout Colorado:

Unclaimed property – this bill could potentially generate $20 million to go into a housing trust fund that will serve seniors, veterans low income families and assistance for home ownership

Document recording fee – would capture revenue from government recording fees and would further add much needed funds to the housing fund.

State low income housing tax Credit renewal – this bill would decrease interruptions in the use of tax credits allowing for sustained economic growth.

Sign this petition from MAAH – Sign to support Mayor Hancock and Denver City Council in their recent announcement to establish one or more permanent revenue sources that will build and preserve at least 6,000 of the 30,000 affordable homes our City desperately needs. MAAH sees this initiative as an important, first step towards addressing Denver’s affordable housing problem and looks forward to working more with the City of Denver and its regional partners to address our housing crisis.  Please join MAAH’s efforts as we advocate for the establishment of a permanent source of funding of at least $15 million in new revenue annually to support affordable housing in Denver.

Contact your legislator to encourage them to support affordable housing.