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City Council approves anti-displacement housing ordinance
DENVER – Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 – The increased cost of housing, and associated involuntary displacement of residents, is a top concern of many in the City and County of Denver. A new ordinance led by Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST) and passed by Denver Council today aims to curb displacement and prioritize qualifying residents to obtain future affordable housing.
The prioritization policy provides households at risk of or who have been displaced from their neighborhood or from Denver with priority access to newly developed or preserved housing. Beginning in 2024, residents who meet income qualifications will be able to apply for priority status and be considered first to lease or purchase a portion of future affordable housing units.
“With this forward-looking policy, we’re committed to helping individuals, families and neighborhoods thrive by codifying a pathway for hard-working residents to remain in their communities,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “This community-informed policy will make a real difference in the lives of those in our city who need it most.”
HOST crafted the policy over the past year, with input from numerous stakeholders, including City Councilmembers, developers, affordable housing organizations, residents, and neighborhood organizations. Denver now joins just a handful of cities nationally that have such a policy in effect.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must have been displaced or at risk of displacement since 2000, and/or an applicant’s family member must have been displaced from Denver between 1939-2000. In addition, applicants must meet affordable housing income qualifications.
“The need for affordable housing is tremendous, especially for those who have been involuntarily displaced from neighborhoods they have called home,” said HOST Executive Director Britta Fisher. “We’re looking forward to prioritizing residents impacted by displacement for access to new income-restricted properties as they come online in the years ahead in Denver.”
The policy applies to a portion of new and newly preserved income-restricted rental units, including units that receive City funds or that are negotiated in agreements with the City. Mandatory affordable housing units established under the new Expanding Housing Affordability policy will also be included. Specifically, buildings with 100 or more units, or located in areas vulnerable to displacement, are required to adhere to the prioritization policy. For all rental units, the policy applies to initial and subsequent lease-ups of vacant units.
The policy also applies to developments of 10 or more newly built affordable homeownership units, including City-regulated affordable units. The policy applies at first sale, and not subsequent sales.
The policy requires 30% of units in qualifying developments to be set aside for prioritized leasing or purchase by qualifying households. The policy applies for the first 14 days in which applications are taken. Property managers and sales teams will be required to review applicants who apply under the prioritization policy first to identify eligible applicants.
To implement the policy, HOST is developing a new, user-friendly website that allows residents to sign up for notifications about affordable housing opportunities, including prioritized units. A procurement for the website development is currently underway.
To learn more about the policy, visit denvergov.org.
The Department of Housing Stability is committed to building a healthy, housed, and connected Denver. The department invests resources, creates policy, and partners to provide housing stability, resolve episodes of homelessness, and create housing opportunities. Visit denvergov.org/housing for more information.