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Group Aims To Give Renters Protection In Tight Housing Market

DENVER (CBS4)– The City of Denver approved a $150 million fund for affordable housing programs but one group said that’s not enough to help in the housing crunch.

The affordable housing fund would help build 6,000 units in Denver but the nonprofit group 9-to-5 Colorado believes more can be done.

The group wants to focus on renter’s rights.

A housing complex under construction in Denver (credit: CBS)

A housing complex under construction in Denver (credit: CBS)

“Today is the start of pushing for renter’s rights and rent control. We know the cost is the number one issue, we have to do something about it. Rent control is illegal at the state level so we would have to overturn a state statue in order for cities to create rent control ordinances,” said community organizer for 9-to-5 Colorado Andrea Chiriboga-Flor.

The organization is also working to put more protections in place for low-income renters.

Affordable housing in the Denver metro area applies to people who are making approximately 60 percent of the median income level. For one person, that would be about $33,000 a year. 9-to-5 Colorado claim most of the people who need those services are making 30 percent of the median income level.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s office released this statement: “The need for a dedicated housing fund has been a top priority for the city and we’re awfully proud to now have a robust, new financing tool in place, which allows us to expand on our many strategies to serve the homeless to home-ownership spectrum. In addition, we’re on track to completing the 3×5 Challenge of creating, rehabilitating and preserving at least 3,000 affordable housing units in Denver over five years.

“But 9 to 5 is right that new, rehabbed and preserved units is not the only tool we should be using, we are also working to help renters and homeowners find and stay in their homes. That is why it is also important to help our people access programs like homeownership and financial counseling, as well as down payment, financing and mortgage assistance.

“Specifically, through our federal HUD dollars, the City and County of Denver also provides support to organizations providing tenant/landlord dispute counseling for low and moderate income populations. We currently support three organizations, including Colorado Affordable Legal Services. These are steps in the right direction but we will continue to work on more solutions with our community.”

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