Denver city council members published a bill to vote on next Monday that aims to extend affordable housing contracts from 20 to 60 years. Almost 2,000 affordable housing units in the city are near the expiration of their affordability deal with the city.
“This is really a compromise between where we’ve been on the low end of affordability and looking at perpetuity, and looking at where we think the life of real estate is, and 60 years is really about the life of a building," said Britta Fisher, Chief Housing Officer with the Denver Office of Economic Development.
While all the councilors agree on extending this time period, the meeting Monday night was heated because several councilors thought the vote was rushed.
"Why are we being Trumpian about this, wow, we're going to make a statement, lock her up," said Rafael Espinoza who represents Denver's District 1.
"You demean this chamber," responded City Council President Jolon Clark, silencing Espinoza with the gavel.
Espinoza was one of four councilors who voted not to publish the bill, but it passed 8-4, paving the way for the revision to the ordinance to be voted on next Monday.
Out of 21,000 affordable housing units in Denver, 7,800 of them are subsidized by the city. The city usually invests anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 as a one-time payment.
The Office of Economic Development is hoping to sign new contracts with the ones about to expire within five years so they continue to operate as affordable housing.
"The current owner could choose to not honor any affordable housing restrictions any longer and make them market rate, or they could sell them to somebody who would then redevelop, rehab, or use them as is as market-rate housing," said Fisher.