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Denver city council considers grant for 60+ homes at affordable rate

The $6.2 million agreement would fund property acquisition, renovation and resale to income-eligible buyers.

DENVER — Living in Denver is getting more expensive, and purchasing a home for the first time isn't easy for a lot of families. That's why Denver's city council is considering a grant to make the dream of buying a home possible for more people. 

The $6.2 million funding agreement would help a nonprofit, Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT), acquire and sell homes to households earning at or below 80% of the area median income. 

For a family of four, that would be an income of $94,650 a year. 

"I think everyone recognizes we are in an affordable housing crisis," Stefka Fanchi, president and CEO of ECLT. "Now there is no-entry level homeownership."

Fanchi wants to make homes more affordable. She said it will cost ECLT on average $470,000 to $480,000 to buy and renovate a home. They will then resell that home on average in the mid-$200,000s, Fanchi said. 

The trust retains ownership of the land the house sits on. This ensures the land remains affordable by keeping it in the community's possession and it helps make homeownership more affordable for low-income people. According to Denver Housing Stability, it allows people to build wealth through equity and shared market appreciation.

"It says that the land can only ever be used for affordable home ownership," said Fanchi. 

When a homebuyer decides to sell one of these homes, it would be sold at the affordable rate plus a little bit of appreciation value.

ECLT hopes to acquire at least 62 units over three years. Of the $6.2 million, $5,520,000 will come from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recover Funds (SLFRF): $5,520,000 and $700,000 will come from Impact Investment Funds.

ECLT can purchase homes city-wide but only homes acquired in Westwood, Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, East Colfax and Sun Valley are eligible for impact investment funds. 

"We want to go to the neighborhoods where people are being pushed out, where they have grown up there but now they can't afford to stay," Fanchi said. "I think it is always advantageous for people to be able to live where they work."

The Denver Safety, Housing, Education, & Homeless Committee approved the proposal this month. It now heads to full council for a vote. 



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