May 30, 2019
DENVER - The City and County of Denver announced today a groundbreaking new partnership that will create dozens of new affordable homes for purchase and will keep them affordable for the next century. Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) has negotiated pending contracts with three housing partners, which in total will create 79 affordable home ownership units citywide for moderate-income households, and, following months of work alongside the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea (GES) Affordable Housing Collaborative and their partners, will make possible land acquisition for future construction of multifamily affordable housing in the GES neighborhoods. Through a land trust model, the majority of these units will be permanently affordable through a 99-year ground lease.
“Working families make up the backbone of our city and these partnerships will make it possible for people to purchase an affordable home for generations to come,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “These agreements are the result of months of work to find the right solution for our neighborhoods to address their housing needs while maintaining the essential fabric of these communities.”
Proposed investments totaling $5.5 million will create long-term affordable homeownership opportunities throughout the city, while placing a targeted focus on the GES neighborhoods. The City worked with the GES Coalition for several months to develop a model that adds multifamily affordable housing and ensures the units are permanently affordable through a 99-year ground lease.
In addition to the GES Affordable Housing Collaborative, proposed contract partners also include Elevation Community Land Trust, and Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. The pending agreements largely call for the acquisition of existing properties, which would then be refurbished prior to sale to households earning up to 80 percent of the area median income (up to $52,000 for a single-person household, or up to $66,850 for a family of three).
Exploring the land trust concept is a key recommendation of the city’s five-year housing plan, Housing an Inclusive Denver. Community land trusts involve a local nonprofit acquiring a parcel of land and pledging to use it for purposes that benefit the neighborhood, including affordable housing. The nonprofit builds a home on the land and sells it to someone in need. The nonprofit retains ownership of the land that the house sits on, leasing it to the homeowner for a designated time period, typically 99 years.
A pending contract with Elevation Community Land Trust provides $3 million to support the development of 60 income-restricted homeownership units citywide, with the exception of the GES neighborhoods. Elevation will acquire properties to be placed into a land trust to ensure permanent affordability for a minimum of 99 years. Properties may include vacant land, existing single-family homes targeted for rehabilitation, and multifamily properties, ranging from two to ten units, to be converted to affordable condominiums.
“In the face of gentrification and increasingly out of reach home prices, the community land trust model is a tool to prevent displacement and provide economic opportunity to hardworking families who want to stay in the neighborhoods they love. Elevation Community Land Trust looks forward to working alongside the City of Denver in ensuring there is a home and an opportunity for everyone,” said Stefka Fanchi, CEO of Elevation Community Land Trust.
A pending $2 million contract with the GES Affordable Housing Collaborative, which consists of Brothers Redevelopment, Inc., the GES Coalition and the Colorado Community Land Trust supports land acquisition of one site within GES, suitable for development of a multitude of multifamily housing units. Additionally, the contract supports production of nine income-restricted homes in the GES neighborhoods, each of which would be placed into the Colorado Community Land Trust for at least 99 years.
“Brothers Redevelopment is honored to work alongside the City of Denver and our partners in the GES Affordable Housing Collaborative, including the Colorado Community Land Trust and the GES Coalition, as we work together to create new affordable housing options for the residents of Globeville, Elyria-Swansea,” said Jeff Martinez, president of Brothers Redevelopment. “Leveraging this historic investment and working together to establish a new community land trust for residents of these proud and historic neighborhoods, we can maintain long-term affordability, prevent displacement of multigenerational families, and promote stability throughout the community.”
A pending $485,000 contract with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver will support the acquisition and refurbishing of 10 homes for future affordable for-sale housing. Long-term affordability will be ensured through a 90-year restricted covenant.
“Habitat for Humanity has been building and preserving affordable homeownership in Denver for 40 years,” shares Heather Lafferty, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. “We know how impactful long-term affordable homeownership can be for families, neighborhoods, and entire communities. With this important funding from the City of Denver, we’re excited to preserve even more affordable housing for hardworking, income-qualified families.”
The partnerships with Elevation Community Land Trust and the GES Affordable Housing Collaborative require approval by Denver City Council prior to implementation. Contracts are anticipated to be presented to City Council in the coming weeks.
“These partnerships go a long way toward preserving affordable home ownership opportunities throughout Denver,” said Britta Fisher, Chief Housing Officer of DEDO. “These proposed investments build upon our existing housing partnerships and will surely serve as a model upon which we can expand future homeownership opportunities.”