Expanding Housing Affordability

Denver needs more affordable housing across the income spectrum. In addition to existing affordable housing programs, the City and County of Denver is developing a policy to ensure that as new homes are built in Denver, more affordable homes are built too – both to rent and to buy.

That’s where the Expanding Housing Affordability project comes in. The city has been working on a Proposal to Expand Housing Affordability. The city’s proposal will create more affordable housing options for our workforce as well as increase funding for Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund. The proposal has three core elements:

  1. Requiring new residential development of 10 units or more to designate between 8% and 12% of the units as affordable, regardless of whether the home is for rent or for sale. In higher-cost areas of the city, such as downtown, developers would need to provide 2% to 3% more affordable units. This will provide much-needed new workforce housing options in Denver.
  2. Gradually increasing the “linkage fee,” which is a fee on development used to build and preserve affordable housing for people with lower incomes. It is not assessed on development that provides affordable housing. The increase will provide much-needed funding for new homes and will bring Denver more in line with other cities nationally. 
  3. Offering zoning and financial incentives, such as flexible parking requirements, height incentives, and permit fee reductions, to help offset the cost of building affordable units and increase the overall supply of housing.

On Monday, June 6, City Council passed legislation that will help increase the number of Affordable units in our city. Under the new inclusionary zoning laws, developers in Denver will be required to build Affordable units into their new developments, or pay a significantly higher linkage fee which Denver’s Department of Housing Stability will use to fund Affordable housing developments. Not only will this increase the number of deed-restricted Affordable units built, it also helps to incentivize adaptive reuse instead of the scrapes that we see throughout our neighborhoods. Our councilwoman Amanda Sawyer voted yes on this legislation and commented, “we have added a valuable tool to combat gentrification and displacement in Denver.”

To learn more visit the Project Archive‘s “Project Documents and Downloads” section.