Denver mayor has big plans for affordable housing in the city

9NEWS @ 9.9/13/2016

DENVER - Affordable housing is one of Denver’s top priorities.

So much so, Mayor Michael Hancock is asking for $5 million in the 2017 budget to address the rising cost of living.

The city's goal is to build or preserve 6,000 more places people can afford to rent or buy over the next 10 years.

One affordable housing complex just opened in the Lincoln Park Neighborhood three months ago.

The Aerie Apartment complex sits in a cluster of relatively new residential buildings which are considered affordable housing.   

Leah Thompson loves the mixed income building she now calls home. 

“When I first moved there, I had been living in a little tiny dark studio in Capitol Hill and so when I found this unit it was twice as big.”

Thompson, who works at a downtown hospital, qualified for an income restricted unit. 

The Denver Housing Authority oversees The Aerie complex on Osage Street.

The Authority’s Executive Director Ismael Guerrero says affordable housing helps struggling families.

“Once they qualify, they know they'll be able to afford their rents… and they won't be paying an excess amount of their paycheck or rent, and having to make tough choices about where else to spend their money,” Guerrero said.

Kimberly Ralat, family lives in a mixed income housing complex.

“I think it's a great thing," Ralat said. "I mean with the economy booming the way it is now the cost of living has gone up so much that… we're poor.”

The mayor is also hoping to create a permanent fund that would cost $150 million and would be paid through a tax hike and developer's fees. 

“If I didn't have [affordable housing], we'd be probably in a shelter,” Ralat said. 

There's been some opposition from developers about the costs.

The city says other builders are now beginning to construct more affordable housing.

Some of that construction is already underway in Lincoln Park, in a spot that was not long ago filled with dilapidated buildings.

The council is now considering the mayor’s budget requests for affordable housing funding. 

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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