Denver OKs funding surge for affordable housing
Author: Adam McCoy - August 28, 2018 - Updated: September 13, 2018
Denver is doubling down on its efforts to boost affordable housing in the city with officials approving an increase in its dedicated fund.
The city’s new plan was approved Monday by the Denver City Council in two ordinances and was expected to be signed into law Tuesday by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
The plan will see the city’s affordable housing fund grow from $15 million a year to $30 million annually, and generate an additional estimated $105 million in funding for affordable housing over the next five years.
“Denver is stepping up our game,” Hancock said Monday night of the injection of money to the housing fund. “(It’s a) big step in achieving the level of equity residents work hard for and deserve.”
The newly-approved plan will aid the city in acquiring new land for affordable housing and subsidizing new low-income housing projects. Ultimately, Denver officials say the funding boost will double its creation and preservation of units — from 3,000 units to more than 6,000 units over five years. The new plan creates a partnership between the city and the Denver Housing Authority.
Created in fall 2016, Denver’s original affordable housing fund promised an estimated $150 million be dedicated to affordable housing efforts, including development and preservation, over a decade. The fund operated on a mix of property tax revenue and a one-time fee on new development, according to the city.
Under the new measures, the Denver Housing Authority will issue bonds to finance the $105 million upfront funding surge. The city’s plan also calls for an increase in the marijuana sales tax from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent, which the city says will generate an estimated $8 million per year. The city will also allocate $7 million per year from the general fund.