Connect to…Your Ballot

As the smoke from our state’s wildfires reaches the Denver metro region & with COVID-19 cases on the rise, understanding what’s on the ballot and how it impacts our ability to create and maintain safe, healthy homes is more critical than ever. That’s why Mile High Connects and Metro Denver Nature Alliance joined together to host an information session on ballot measures affecting equitable, affordable access to nature and housing in Colorado, Adams County, and Denver.

Chris Stiffler from the Colorado Fiscal Institute unpacked the Gallagher Amendment and the TABOR Amendment, which affect local property taxes, public school investments, and state and local governments’ ability to raise funds for public programs.

Conor Hall front the Trust for Public Land discussed two ballot measures in Adams County affecting open space (1A) and infrastructure (1B) investments supported by long-standing tax assessments. One of Colorado’s fastest growing counties, the population of Adams County is expected to surpass that of Denver within 30 years.

Sebastian Andrews with the Denver Streets Partnership shared details of Denver’s Ballot Measure 2A, which would fund the city’s climate action. The measure, and Denver’s approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation, was informed by work in other cities (like Houston, TX) and the Climate Action Task Force.

Thank you to our partners MetroDNA and panelists for sharing their insights with us. While MHC and MetroDNA do not endorse specific measures, we share this dialogue in the spirit of community engagement and to ensure all residents have access to information.

Undesign the Redline – Self-Guided Tours

Undesign the Redline is an interactive exhibit connecting the intentional and systematic racial housing segregation of the 1930s to political and social issues of today, through the powerful narratives of the people and communities affected by redlining and its legacy.

Explore the history. Be inspired by stories of vision and change. Become part of the conversation for new equitable policies and practices.

Thanks to Shift Research Lab, Denver Arts & Venues and the McNichols Building for supporting this event!

A Regional Call to Action on Gentrification & Displacement

In the Denver Metro Region, gentrification and displacement are becoming critical issues. With investment in development of our urban core, along transit lines and in other areas of opportunity, skyrocketing rents, rising property taxes and cultural disruption of neighborhoods means that communities in which there has been historic underinvestment are now being pushed out of neighborhoods at the very moment they stand to reap the greatest gains of employment opportunities, services and other amenities.

As a multi-sector collaborative, committed to ensuring our region’s transit system fosters communities that offer all residents the opportunity for a high quality of life, Mile High Connects hosted a call to action event on April 19th. During our early morning event, over 100 people from across sectors and communities joined us and heard from community residents about their experiences around displacement, rising rents, shifting community fabric, and evictions. They listened to federal government leadership talk about their investments to disrupt poverty and increase diversity of housing choices. We also heard about strategies being implemented to increase economic opportunity.

This event served as the touchstone and call to action for the release of our Access to Opportunity Platform: A Regional Call to Action to Address Our Gentrification and Displacement Crisis. The platform outlines strategies and recommendations around housing, place/community and culture, and economic opportunity. Click here to download the platform.


Enterprise Community Partners – Creating Opportunity for Low-Income People Through Affordable Housing

The Denver region’s economy has been booming for many years, but a significant portion of the population is increasingly left behind. Across the seven county Denver metro region, there are over 175,000 low-income households experiencing housing insecurity: over 6,300 homeless persons, over 106,000 renters paying more than half of their monthly income on rent, and over 63,000 homeowners paying over half their monthly income on housing costs. Between 2000 and 2013, the number of housing insecure households increased by 70%! These households are forced every month to make tough decisions – choosing whether to pay their housing/utility bills or buying groceries, paying for housing or transportation to get to work or get their children to school.

Enterprise Community Partners is a proud member of Mile High Connects. There are too many great resources and too many great people in this region to allow these inequities to exist. That is why we continue to lead efforts like the Denver Regional Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Fund, why we are partnering with the City of Denver on the region’s first Social Impact Bond transaction to provide critical intervention services for formerly homeless individuals with severe mental illnesses and/or substance abuse issues, why we are working with local, regional, and statewide agencies on a collaborative effort to preserve existing affordable housing and prevent displacement of low-income families, and why we are working hand in hand with our MHC partners and many other organizations and community members to fight for a permanent, dedicated source of local funding for affordable housing.

These challenges are great and many, but they are not impossible. Mile High Connects envisions a region where every individual and family in the Denver region has access to opportunity, and at Enterprise, we believe that opportunity begins at home. We look forward to our continued partnership with Mile High Connects in reversing this region’s growing trend of housing insecurity.

Denver NeighborhoodLIFT Program – Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo began the next phase of our Denver NeighborhoodLIFT program launched a year ago. In close collaboration with Denver Mayor Hancock and the Denver Office of Economic Development, we announced donations totaling $500,000 to help address Denver’s needs around neighborhood revitalization, preparing individuals and families for homeownership, and supporting small businesses.

The grants are going to 10 nonprofits for efforts that align with the City’s JumpStart 2015 initiatives. We expect that more than 78,000 individuals, families and local businesses will receive assistance as a result of the grants. While we know this one program can’t solve Denver’s need for quality, affordable housing and create the path to homeownership on its own, we hope this small step will help make a big difference in our community.

Since 2012, with a combined $230 million investment ($5.65 million in Denver) by Wells Fargo, LIFT programs have been introduced to 32 communities deeply affected by the housing crisis. The program has created more than 8,750 homeowners (250 in Denver), with the help of down payment assistance and homebuyer education. A video about the NeighborhoodLIFT program is posted on the Wells Fargo YouTube Channel. Also collaborating with Wells Fargo on the program are NeighborWorks America and its Metro Denver affiliate, Community Resources Housing and Development Corporation.

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