Preserving affordability of housing in communities to prevent gentrification and displacement of residents is critical to the mission of Mile High Connects, especially in areas reaping the economic and community development benefits that often come with new transit and infrastructure investments.
MHC is advancing policies and enhancing efficiency in community practice to preserve the affordability of housing near transit. In 2015, Denver City Council adopted Mile High Connects’ recommendations to strengthen legislation and provide more time and flexibility for the City to preserve affordability of at-risk housing. In 2016, MHC released its “Access to Opportunity Platform,” which includes several recommended strategies to preserve affordable housing and prevent displacement.
MHC was integral in establishing a partnership of state and local housing agencies, including the Colorado Housing and Finance Agency (CHFA), the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Region 8, the Colorado Division of Housing (CDOH), the City and County of Denver, and other non-profit organizations to coordinate and prioritize efforts and resources for affordable housing preservation. CHFA established a full-time Preservation Program Manager position to oversee this partnership, which takes a coordinated approach to data, mapping, and implementation to ensure that critical affordable housing statewide is not lost to market forces or declining quality.
MHC partners also manage and utilize the Denver Regional Transit Oriented Development Fund, an innovative financing tool designed to support acquisition of properties near transit for the purposes of preserving and creating affordable housing and community-serving facilities on those sites.
The development taking place in the region around transit stations is most successful if it includes a range of housing options, including affordable housing, and community serving facilities, like quality child care centers, places to access healthy food, and services to support residents.
Mile High Connects is working to ensure that neighborhood residents and other stakeholders have a voice in planning for development in their communities and that policies and resources are in place throughout the region to support developers to include affordable housing and community-serving facilities in their projects. Creating affordable housing as a part of all new developments near transit is critical to combating gentrification and displacement and ensures that we have diverse, sustainable communities throughout the region.
Mile High Connects partners also manage and utilize the Denver Regional Transit Oriented Development Fund, an innovative financing tool designed to support acquisition of properties near transit for the purposes of preserving and creating affordable housing and community-serving facilities on those sites.
The rising cost of living across the Denver Metro region has forced in hundreds of thousands of working individuals and families to make impossible tradeoffs when it comes to their monthly income, often faced with the difficult choice between paying rent and purchasing groceries. Despite progress in affordable housing development, tenants are often left behind, facing unnecessary eviction or forced displacement. Through a regional coalition of residents and organizational partners, Mile High Connects seeks to strengthen local policies and practices that protect not only the affordability of housing units near transit, but also the people living in them. Ensuring that renters have equal access to housing units, live in habitable conditions and have protections in eviction processes are all critical to supporting people and the diverse communities in which they live.
The rapid growth across the Metro Denver region has greatly impacted low-income communities and communities of color. Many low-income families across the region struggle to pay their mortgage or rent every month. After paying for housing costs, there is little left for other essentials like food or childcare.