Research Report Denver and the State of Low- and Middle-Income Housing
Strategies to Preserve Affordability and Opportunities for the Future
Diana Elliott, Tanaya Srini, Carl Hedman, Shiva Kooragayala, Cary Lou
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Denver is experiencing rapid population growth and economic success, which has led to rising housing costs that make the city cost-prohibitive to longtime residents and newcomers alike. This is especially the case for low- and middle-income (LMI) households who make too much for subsidies and too little to pay market prices. Through a data-rich analysis of population and housing market changes in the last 15 years, we identify sharp contrasts between the flourishing neighborhoods of Lower Downtown and those that are in need of more targeted intervention, like Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea. Creative approaches to accessory dwelling units and social impact investing for affordable housing, as well as greater use of community land trusts to maintain affordability, could gain traction in the near term. In the long term, conversations about affordable housing should focus on a regional vision, one that acknowledges that this is a regional challenge and one that intersects with issues of social equity. Denver, an already innovative city in approaching affordable housing, will need to think creatively about LMI affordability as it continues to experience growth and economic success.

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