Posted on January 27, 2022 by Margaret Lea in Events,News
The burden of owning or renting a house in the Denver metro region is heavy for many residents as wage growth has not kept pace with the increased cost of living. With Denver rents skyrocketing, renters must make at least $27.50 per hour, which is in stark contrast with Colorado’s minimum wage of $12.32 per hour.
In May, the Colorado legislature voted to approve House Bill 2021-1117. This bill was advocated for by numerous partners and advocates to replace a Colorado Supreme Court decision that once prohibited such “inclusionary housing” practices and allows local governments to require rental housing developers to provide affordable units in new development projects. Here is a sample of what is included in the bill:
Cities can now require affordable housing to be included in all new for-sale and for-rent housing.
Requires local governments to offset costs, relax zoning restrictions and provide alternatives, recognizing that inclusionary housing creates higher costs on multi-family developments.
Requires local governments to provide some options to allow for one or more alternatives to the construction of new affordable housing units
Once passed, the city and county of Denver lept into action. Their Community Planning and Development department drafted a policy proposal to ensure that as new housing is built, new affordable housing is created.
The Expanding Housing Affordability (or EHA) is designed to be complementary to the Department of Housing Stability’s (HOST)’s efforts to address Denver’s housing needs, namely the production of new affordable units in mixed-income communities by combining affordable homes into market-rate development. HOST has faced challenges in creating truly mixed-income communities over the years, and this newly passed but long fought-for legislation has enabled Denver and other localities across the state to mandate inclusionary housing.
MHC brought together key stakeholders, including Brad Wienig, Director of Catalytic Partnerships with HOST, and Analiese Hock, Principal City Planner with City and County of Denver, to discuss the purpose of EHA and provide some initial feedback on the proposal As part of our collaborative call to action, MHC submitted a letter of recommendations (posted below) to the City and County of Denver.
Mile High Connects and Denver Streets Partnership hosted Transit is the Future: Denver Transit Justice Forum, a panel discussion with elected officials and area leaders on the importance of public transit as a critical piece in reconstructing a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable economy.
Framing the conversation,Downtown Denver Partnership President and CEO Tami Door stated that “A successful city is a resilient city, and transit is at the very center of that.”
Debra Johnson, new General Manager and CEO of RTD, shared that “Transit has been largely underfunded across the country for decades. The transit problems we’re experiencing aren’t indigenous to Denver.”
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 andMetro 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 Instituteunpacked 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 Partnershipshared 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.
Denver City Council’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee reviewed Comprehensive Plan 2040 and Blueprint Denver at its meeting yesterday and voted unanimously to advance both of the plans to the full City Council.
Council is now scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on adoption of the plans at its meeting on Monday, April 22.
City Council Public Hearing for Comprehensive Plan 2040 and Blueprint Denver
5:30 p.m., Monday, April 22
City and County Building, Council Chambers (#451)
1437 Bannock St., Denver
Members of the public may continue to share thoughts on the plans electronically ahead of time or in person at the City Council public hearing.
Email comments to email@example.com. Comments received by noon on Thursday, April 18 will be included in the staff report submitted to council members.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received by 3 p.m. on Monday, April 22 will be forwarded to all council members.
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.
One of Rose Community Foundation’s grantmaking priorities is to support programs that allow people in the Greater Denver community to age in place — or stay in their own homes and neighborhoods — and live independently for as long as possible. Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities or NORCs are one important avenue for ensuring that people have access to and are aware of resources in their own neighborhoods they need as they age. One of the NORCs the Foundation funds is in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. It sits alongside RTD’s busy 15 bus line.
NORCs are communities that, while not originally designed for older adults, have a significant amount of residents over age 60. When these communities are identified, often a nonprofit organization will work to identify needs and coordinate care and social services to meet those needs. In the Capitol Hill NORC the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender (GLBT) Community Center of Colorado and Capitol Hill Care Link work to establish connections with older adults in the area and then make sure they know where and how to access services and resources available to them.
People over 60 who are aging in place face many challenges, but among the most daunting and difficult to solve is isolation. While the Capitol Hill Care Link works to connect the older adults in the neighborhood to resources to age in place, it also helps residents connect through social events and volunteer opportunities, including yoga classes, lunch and learns, and support groups. The organization also convenes a Resident Advisory Board regularly to stay in touch with residents’ needs and interests.
As we move into 2015, you might notice a few changes here at Mile High Connects. In addition to our brand new website, we’ve spent the past few months honing and refining our workplan to be able to provide a more targeted, coordinated set of efforts to the community for even greater impact in the coming year. Our work over the next twelve months will focus on four main priority areas:
We’ve also brought on some great new folks to help facilitate each priority area. Help us welcome Jennifer Billig, Stephen Moore, Brad Weinig and Zoe Williams as our Priority Area Coordinators for the coming year.
As you take a look through our new site and see what our workplan has to offer in the coming year, please be on the lookout for ways we might support your work or that you might connect to ours. We’re always in search of new partners and people aligned with our mission of ensuring that our transit system helps offer access to opportunity for everyone in our community. Reach out – we’d love to hear from you.