DENVER - You need to make $93,000 to qualify for a mortgage in Denver.
Software programmers, police officers and bus drivers - on average - all make less according to an analysis from the Denver planning office, 'Denverright.' Housing prices keep going up and the city is working on solutions.
“Neighborhoods are changing, there is no question about that,” says Erik Solivan, executive director of Mayor’s office of HOPE (Housing & Opportunities for People Everywhere).
It’s a change some call gentrification – meaning housing prices increase too much for members of the community to afford to stay living there. Instead, neighbors feel forced out.
“I know what the struggle is in seeing your community change around you and you not being able to access that change,” Solivan says.
People living in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea communities will soon be forced out, as the city acquired 56 homes and 17 businesses to expand Interstate 70. While 300 other homes will remain, they may need additional structural support. Those are the people Solivan hopes to help.
“So when they talk about it, they ask ‘how do we get to better windows?’” Solivan says. “How do I ensure my kid with asthma will be free from the dust, how do you seal our home, can I get a job to be a part of this – I can look them in the eye and say yes to all of that and we're going to do more,” he said.
But that neighborhood is only one story in the city. In Villa Park, between Sheridan and Federal boulevards, along 6th Avenue, the median home value has increased by more than 35 percent in two years.
The city produced a study, showing how the booming economy is affecting different neighborhoods and those who live there.
“We not only see neighborhoods that see an increase in the white or Caucasian population but other neighborhoods, like in southeast or southwest Denver, where we see an increase in Hispanic population,” says David Gaspers, Principal City Planner in Denver. “It does have an interesting story of how our neighborhoods are changing and evolving.”
In the meantime, if you're struggling to find a place to live, Solivan says the city is working on it.
“We're not going to get it right, it's not going to be perfect, but we're going to do everything we can to make this right,” he says.
The city says it will hold workshops so residents can weigh in on Denver's growth strategy. You can check this site to find out how you can participate.
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