May 19, 2023 - News

Denver sets its affordable housing goals, opens latest development

A bow is placed on the signage outside Valor on the Fax, an affordable housing complex in Denver's East Colfax neighborhood built with city funding. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

The lighting and wall colors inside Valor on the Fax, an apartment complex in Denver's East Colfax neighborhood, aren't simple design touches.

The intrigue: These features create a more physically welcoming space for people with brain injuries, according to Jeff Martinez, who leads the development company that built it, Brothers Redevelopment.

Why it matters: The 72-unit affordable housing complex held a ribbon-cutting Wednesday, becoming one of the latest examples of a city-backed development attempting to put a dent in Denver's housing crisis.

  • The units are for people transitioning out of homelessness.

Driving the news: The housing stability department this week presented its 2023 housing action plan to create or preserve 1,784 affordable units this year. It relies on $250 million from the city's coffers and federal pandemic aid money, chief housing officer Laura Brudzynski said.

  • Brudzynski tells us the 72 in East Colfax don't count toward this year's goal, since they secured funding in 2020 and were counted then.
  • This year's target would be an increase from the 1,000 housing options for rent or sale created or preserved with city money in 2022.

Context: 1,870 affordable units funded by city financing are under construction at 31 sites, according to a statement from the Department of Housing Stability.

  • The statement did not say when they will be completed.

The other side: "It's obviously not sufficient," Terese Howard, of the Housekeys Action Network Denver, tells us about the city's plan, adding it won't keep up with people who will lose housing over the next several years.

  • Howard, whose organization advocates for the unhoused, said more options like Valor on the Fax, which is income-restricted to people who make up to 30% of the area median income (or $24,650 per single person) are needed.

How it works: Denver usually provides land it owns for developers and nonprofits and also chips in money toward overall costs.

  • For Valor on the Fax, the city sold the land for $10 in 2021 under the agreement it would be turned into affordable housing, and provided $1.44 million toward the project's $23.6 million total cost.

Of note: In addition to developing more housing, the housing stability office wants to continue providing services like rental, utility and down-payment assistance to keep people housed.


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