Denver would pay 'fair market price' to rent existing apartments for affordable housing

At his state of the city speech earlier this month, Mayor Michael Hancock announced an idea for 400 affordable housing units comprised of currently vacant apartment units. At the time, he didn't have specifics.

DENVER - When is high-end housing low income housing? When Denver's director of HOPE is involved.

At his state of the city speech earlier this month, Mayor Michael Hancock announced an idea for 400 affordable housing units comprised of currently vacant apartment units. At the time, he didn't have specifics.

Now we know it involves negotiating for some high-end rentals.

What is considered high-end you ask? So did we, when we interviewed Denver's HOPE director. Seriously, "HOPE" -- Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere.

"High-end is just higher priced rental vacant units. Those that start at -- as a number of papers have highlighted -- one bedrooms that begin at $1,300 and $1,400 a month," said Erik Solivan, Denver's HOPE director.

If you're like us, you're wondering why the high-rise apartments being built are so high, when there are vacancies in other newer apartment complexes. Meaning, should the city be kicking in money to developers who choose to build so high and so expensive.

"We have an immediate housing need. We have vacancies. How the vacancies got there, that's a question for another time," said Solivan. "No apartment should sit vacant while the city has an immediate need for affordable housing."

The vacant units will be paid "fair market rent" in a negotiation with the management companies. The city won't necessarily pay 100 percent of what the apartment is seeking.

"One hundred percent rent is very subjective. It is not what a private property owner says; 'This is 100 percent rent.' That varies. That's why the analysis has to be thorough," said Solivan. "Over the next couple of months, we're going to be working out the mechanics of what is that 'fair market rent' and then, how do we rent 'buy down' from that 'fair market rent.'"

Solivan will host a Facebook Live on Friday at 11:30 a.m. to answer questions about the 400 vacant apartments and the city's affordable housing plan.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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