Denver will use rent subsidies to fill vacant apartments
Author: Adam McCoy - January 12, 2018 - Updated: January 12, 2018
Surging rent and an apartment glut have spawned a new Denver pilot program providing housing subsidies to low-income Denverites.
A news report from the Wall Street Journal notes that the new program called LIVE, Lower Income Voucher Equity, will help “house teachers, medical technicians and others” in “sparkling new, high-end rental apartments with amenities like gyms, roof decks and sometimes even pet spas.”
In lieu of letting vacant apartments sit empty, why not create housing opportunities for Denver residents, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told the WSJ.
The city has long wrestled with affordable housing as the cost of living has soared, gentrifying many out of Denver neighborhoods. Denver has been working with developers to build new affordable housing units, often buying land to sell to developers interested in building affordable housing. Denver has also launched programs like the Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program aiding Denver households experiencing a housing crisis including a rent increase or loss of a job.
Under the new program, single Denverites making between $23,500 to $47,000 a year and families of four making $33,500 to $67,000 a year are eligible, according to Denver7. Those found to qualify would then receive a voucher to pay 30 to 35 percent of their income in rent for two years. The program would also place about 5 percent of monthly rent in a savings account.
The program currently has funding to subsidize 400 units, while 100 units have joined the pilot program thus far. LIVE, starting later this month, will be funded by the city, employers and charitable foundations, according to the WSJ. Denver anticipates spending roughly $500 a month subsidizing rent for a single person and $900 for a family.