Briefline

Colorado housing experts finalize formal recommendations for alleviating state’s affordable housing crisis

By: - July 14, 2021 4:45 am

A housing unit in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on Aug. 7, 2020. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)

A coalition of housing experts across Colorado has finalized formal recommendations for how the state can alleviate its affordable housing crisis.

The Strategic Housing Working Group, convened by the state’s Department of Local Affairs in the fall, presented its final recommendations to Colorado’s State Housing Board during a public meeting on July 13. Next, the report will be sent to Gov. Jared Polis and presented to state lawmakers when they return in January. 

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The report suggests a wide array of solutions, including how to increase housing stock for older Coloradans and people with disabilities; how to improve access to rental assistance programs; preserving and incentivizing naturally occurring affordable housing typically provided by the private sector; zoning and land use changes; and ways to increase supportive services, rehabilitation assistance and homeownership programs.

The recommendations come in the wake of a historic legislative session, where state lawmakers approved a laundry list of new legal protections for renters and allocated millions in state and federal funds to help bolster affordable housing efforts.

Formal recommendations include:

  • Incentivize the preservation of existing affordable housing units
  • Adjust income limits and provide gap funding for state and federal rental and housing assistance programs
  • Provide on-call consultants to help smaller entities navigate affordable housing developments
  • Establish supportive housing service funds alongside affordable housing programs so renters can access mental health and addiction services
  • Expand direct cash assistance programs for tenants 

The state group was facilitated by Heidi Aggeler, director of Root Policy Research, a Denver-based community planning and housing research firm. Previous meeting notes and recordings can be found on Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs website.

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Moe Clark
Moe Clark

Reporter Moe Clark covers criminal justice, housing and homelessness, and other social issues for Colorado Newsline.

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