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Mayor Hancock Names First Executive Director of New Office of HOPE

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today announced his appointment of Erik Soliván as the first Executive Director of the new Office of Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE).

As Executive Director, Soliván will help craft a coordinated and comprehensive strategic roadmap for the city’s policies, programs and projects along the full homeless-to-homeownership spectrum and other opportunities, including services and workforce development, to build stronger communities throughout Denver.

“The people of Denver – all our people – deserve safe, accessible and affordable housing options, and the city remains squarely focused on this goal,” Mayor Hancock said. “Serving those who are struggling to afford homes or those without any home at all is some of the hardest work we do, and we know we can do better. Erik’s expertise across the spectrum of homelessness and housing brings a fresh perspective to all of our work. Today, with the new Office of HOPE and leadership, significant investment and a renewed vision, the city is keenly positioned to deliver more, quality housing choices to our people.”

Announced in Mayor Hancock’s 2016 State of the City Address, the Office of HOPE will knock down silos, refocus city agencies, and create a unified and forceful effort to help those who need a home, find a home. This new office will harness and marshal city resources, talent and determination to identify those experiencing homelessness, get them into housing and other opportunities, and keep them moving forward. The office will also work on broader housing affordability strategies to create permanent housing and supportive services for at-risk residents, low- and moderate-income workforce rental housing, and moderate income for-sale housing while integrating programs and services to build stronger neighborhoods.

“I’ve worked on these issues in small towns and major cities. Each community is unique, but everyone shares a desire to foster and live in neighborhoods of choice and opportunity for individuals and families at all income levels,” Soliván said. “It’s an honor to be appointed to this position by Mayor Hancock, and I look forward to listening and engaging our partners and stakeholders on all the critical efforts already underway and are needed by the residents of Denver.”

Soliván will also serve as a member of the city’s new Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. The group, which will convene monthly beginning today, was established to help guide Denver’s first dedicated affordable housing fund that was approved by City Council in September.

The affordable housing fund is estimated to raise at least $150 million over the next 10 years to create or preserve 6,000 affordable homes for low- to moderate-income families. The committee will provide essential strategic input on uses of the dedicated fund. Recommendations from the group will help inform annual affordable housing budget priorities and three- to five-year comprehensive housing plans for the city.

Soliván served as the Senior Vice President for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the 4th largest housing authority in the United States, overseeing the Office of Policy and Planning. In this capacity, he oversaw all multiyear housing planning across the spectrum from homelessness to homeownership, housing policy, public/private/city agency partnerships, social service integration, grant-funding development, and execution of the Authority’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhood Initiatives.

While with the Authority, Soliván also led efforts to revise and re-establish Philadelphia’s Blueprint Program to End Homelessness, in partnership with the city and non-profit community development corporations, and create comprehensive performance metrics and integrated social service delivery.

Soliván previously served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary in the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development managed legislation analysis, policy and programmatic reforms on a wide range of local government issues. His issue portfolio included housing, community development, land use planning, local government operations and management for social service delivery, taxation, revitalization of distressed municipalities, and multiyear capital planning.

Following law school, Soliván returned to the private sector as a Senior Analyst in the Management Consulting Group at Public Financial Management, Incorporated (PFM). While at PFM, Erik provided financial, technical, operational and policy analysis through the development of multiyear plans for various local government entities with specific focus on housing and community revitalization.

This work included the financial, operational, economic and community recovery plans for the cities of Reading and New Castle, Pennsylvania; a housing, social service, economic and community redevelopment plan for the City of Youngstown, Ohio under the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Strong-Cities Strong-Communities program; and a multiyear capital improvement program for the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.