A Deeper Dive into Denver’s ARPA Funding

Published on January 17, 2023

The next phase of housing stability and homelessness resolution support.

Recently, Denver City Council approved Denver’s plan for programming the city’s second tranche of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds - $154 million – that will be spent through 2026. The passage of federal funds includes 32 programs for multiple Denver agencies, with half of the new funds going toward housing stability and homelessness resolution.

A press release provided an overview of how the funds are expected to transform Denver, and this blog series will dig deeper into specifics. In this post, we’re digging into the city’s housing stability and homelessness resolution investments, which will receive the largest set of funding in Round 2 of ARPA. Investments in housing stability and homelessness resolution received the most significant level of response from the community during our community engagement campaign, where we spoke to thousands of Denver residents and stakeholders. So far $121 million of the full $308 million in ARPA funding for Denver, or nearly four out of every 10 dollars, has been allocated for housing stability and homelessness resolution.

A summary of program spending on the $77.73 million in housing stability and homelessness resolution support for Round 2 of ARPA includes:

  • $20 million for expanding down payment assistance programs and developing a pipeline of affordable housing that would build pathways to homeownership for households impacted by past redlining district practices.
  • $23.25 million for supporting acquisition and rehabilitation of hotel properties that would include space for safe parking. 
  • $600,000 for Safe Parking that would allow for an expansion of Safe Parking program, doubling the number of sites from what round one funded.
  • $7.8 million for a continuation of the Safe Outdoor Spaces program.
  • $20 million for acquisition of hotel properties for supportive housing units, as well as gap financing for housing development beyond what is currently able to be funded in HOST's pipeline of existing resources - in anticipation of leveraging additional resources such as state or federal sources.
  • $6 million for a Rehousing Collaborative that continues a rapid rehousing initiative.
  • $75,000 for a study to investigate the feasibility of adaptively reusing 10-15 high-rise office buildings in downtown Denver (Union Station, Central Business District, North Capitol Hill, and Civic
  • Center Neighborhoods) as housing and engage in conversations led by city staff with property owners and developers to encourage and support the building conversions.

Round 1 of ARPA spending also contains significant spending on housing stability and homelessness resolution support, with $43.27 million expected to be expended in the months and years ahead, some of which has been continued in the latest spending.

Some recent success stories include:

Denver’s Basic Income program is also an exciting program, with the New York Times, Axios, 9 News, The Denver Post, Westword, CBS Colorado, ABC 7 Denver, Fox 31 Denver, The Denver Gazette, Colorado Public Radio / Denverite, and others covering details and the planned impact of the program.

Additional stories about homelessness and housing resolution programming impacted by ARPA funding includes this Westword piece quoting Mark “Shorty” Montes, who moved from a Safe Outdoor Space to his own apartment. A Westword, quoted Mr. Montes speaking about his new home by saying “I feel like a weight is off me.”

Denver must allocate both ARPA installments, totaling $308 million in local relief funds, by the end of 2024 and spend them by the end of 2026. Denver’s robust progress toward transformational change in our community through use of ARPA funds will continued to be detailed in full annual reports submitted to the U.S. Treasury, including 2022’s that can be found here here. Additionally, you can see more about the programs in Denver's regularly updated American Rescue Plan Funding Dashboard and story map.