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By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and city leaders released a five-year plan for providing more housing opportunities for residents in need on Friday.

Now that the plan is out, the public can start a 45-day review process which includes looking at the goals to create more units and help more families by 2023.

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(credit: CBS)

“This new plan outlines strategies to create, preserve strong neighborhoods with diverse housing options that are accessible and affordable to all Denver residents,” said Hancock.

Research conducted as part of the new plan shows that while Denver has a low unemployment rate and an overwhelming majority of its population in the workforce, the incomes of residents cannot keep up with the rising cost of housing. Creating new units, preserving existing spaces, and providing financial support for residents to pay for this expense are key aspects of the plan.

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (credit: CBS)

The two major goals for the plan by 2023 are creating and preserving 3,000 housing units and serving 30,000 households to help them keep the place they live in or find a new one to call home.denver housing plan 6pkg frame 1761 Denver Unveils 5 Year Housing Plan

“The two main differences in this plan that is a vastly different approach than how this city looked at housing before, when we brought together our work on homelessness and housing,” said Erik Soliván, Executive Director of the Office of Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE).

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Erik Soliván, Executive Director of the Office of Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere (credit: CBS)

The plan, Housing an Inclusive Denver, has four key goals: create affordable housing, preserve affordable housing, promote programs that help residents access those options, and stabilize residents at risk of being displaced.

The Office of Economic Development invests more than $20 million into housing development with both local and federal funding. That type of commitment is expected to continue each year as part of the plan but is subject to how much money comes from Congress.

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(credit: CBS)

If the funding stays at current levels, the goals for 2023 will break out with at least 2,000 new affordable units and preserve at least 1,000 units. Appropriately, 90 percent would be for renters and 10 percent would be for homeowners.

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As for the target number of households, at least 20,000 would be paired with resources like homebuyer counseling and down payment assistance. While the majority would be likely homeowners, at least 10,000 would be those needing landlord counseling or eviction assistance as tenants.

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(credit: CBS)

Half of the resources and programs in the plan are meant to target the residents most in need, those making 30 percent or less of the median income in the area. The other half will be split into two objectives; the first would be for those still considered to be below the median income, making 30 to 80 percent of that figure and the second would focus on those trying to buy or keep a home.

“It’s not just about housing,” Hancock added at his office on Friday. “It’s the whole network of supportive services and access that our people need.”

LINK: Denver Housing Opportunities

Housing an Inclusive Denver Plan

Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas at smchitnis@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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