- The Denver City Council has passed a five-year housing policy, strategy and investment plan, called Housing an Inclusive Denver.
- The plan lists suggested initiatives to assist low-income residents and people experiencing homelessness, as well as programs to increase the supply of housing units that are affordable to low- and moderate-income residents. The plan aims to create or preserve 3,000 housing units by 2023.
- The plan also presents strategies for spending Denver's $150 million dedicated housing fund to support affordable housing creation and preservation over a 10-year period.
Denver has had explosive population growth over the past decade but new home unit construction hasn't kept up, which has contributed to a shortage in the city's housing supply. The high demand and low supply has prompted a spike in home purchase and rental prices that has outpaced wage growth, as evidenced in a recent study analyzing housing in Colorado. These factors are coming together to make the Denver area a less affordable place to live in, a problem that is markedly worse for residents at the lower end of the income scale.
The city's new housing plan doesn't just state actions to increase overall housing capacity. The plan puts values like inclusivity and fostering opportunities for all residents at its forefront, as well as embracing neighborhood diversity. It also recommends that the city expands its partnerships and leverages other stakeholders and resources to increase affordable housing.
Denver is not the only city experiencing affordability difficulties right now. Rising prices and low supply are two things plaguing cities across the country and causing an affordability crisis. Municipalities like Salt Lake City and Seattle are devising or expanding their own affordable housing plans. Some cities are looking for other creative solutions, such as the proposal in San Diego to increase the number of live-work spaces.
Municipalities also are realizing that housing crises are not simply a local issue. Their effects spread throughout a region or even a state. That has prompted 14 Boston-area cities to come together to form a housing partnership, as well as a proposed bill in California to mandate greater housing density near transit throughout the state. A group of CEOs and mayors, including Denver's, also formed a housing investment coalition last month to tackle housing affordability and homelessness.