Building the Community Investment System in Colorado

June 30, 2017

A bike ride through Denver’s diverse neighborhoods and communities tells a story of radically different levels of investment. In our most affluent neighborhoods, investment is in ample supply. New developments, large shopping centers, expensive restaurants, all seem to pop up in record time due to the abundance of available capital.

Just blocks away in some cases, we see a different story. We see communities experiencing chronic disinvestment (or in some cases now, experiencing rapid gentrification and displacement pressures). These communities often have a lack of grocery stores, dilapidated community centers, housing that is inadequate – if not unsafe/unhealthy – for the needs of families, and infrastructure that was built in the 1950’s.

The difference in these two stories has everything to do with the choices that we make as a society about how money should be invested. At Mile High Connects, we have been working to change the community investment system by helping to catalyze new investment that benefits low and moderate income communities.  With our many partners, including the Colorado Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), we are working to create a new financial instrument that will help investors (impact investors, foundations, banks, and others) to bring more capital to affordable housing (new construction and preservation); mixed use developments in low and mixed-income communities; and commercial facilities that meet the needs of local communities.

Planning for the Community Investment Platform is guided by the following goals:

    1. Align impact-focused capital with the growing need for community development
    2. Preserve neighborhoods, communities, and culture while reversing involuntary displacement of low-to moderate-income families
    3. Build opportunities in communities of greatest need and greatest opportunities
    4. Build assets and wealth in low-to moderate-income communities
    5. Increase the ability of middle-wage workers to purchase homes

Over the next few months we will continue to work with our partners and community groups to meet these goals through the deployment of capital that works on behalf of all of our communities.

For more information about the Community Investment Platform, contact Brad Weinig, bweinig@enterprisecommunity.org.

Written By: Katherine Pease