DENVER (CBS4) – The City of Denver on Wednesday outlined plans to add thousands of affordable homes over the next decade. The goal is to create, preserve or rehab 6,000 homes for low and middle income families.
Mayor Michael Hancock says affordable housing is the highest priority in Denver because finding a place to call home can be expensive. He says it’s one of the biggest issues facing the city.
On Wednesday, city council members, along with housing advocates and even developers, got a more in-depth look at the proposed affordable housing fund.
A place to call home may seem like a simple thing, but it’s becoming a luxury that many families are struggling to find. Georgette Assiongbon said if it wasn’t for Habitat for Humanity she would not have been able to buy her Globeville home.
“For me, the living room is big, with the kitchen. I was so happy, and my kids are so happy,” Assiongbon told CBS4’s Jennifer Brice.
Assiongbon’s success story is what Denver city leaders hope to copy. They want to create a permanent affordable housing fund for development. Hancock wants to raise $150 million in 10 years.
“If you don’t have housing for those employees our entire economy suffers. We have less money for roads and things. So we are all connected in this city in many ways,” Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kneich said.
The fund allocates part of a property tax increase voters authorized back in 2012. It also proposes a new one-time development fee, ranging from 40 cents to $1.70 per square foot, depending on the project.
Some developers say the fees will drive up costs.
“If you want to encourage development and encourage affordability we shouldn’t make the homes more expensive,” a developer said at the meeting.
A formal vote on the fund will happen in September.
Assiongbon says finding an affordable place to live made all the difference for her family.
“The mortgage is low and I can pay that and I don’t have to worry too much,” she said.
If the ordinance is passed, it will go into effect in January 2017.