Access to affordable housing has never been more important in Denver. Today, 120,000 more people live in Denver than in 2010, with as many as 140,000 more projected by 2040. While our city's population has spiked, the housing stock is simply not keeping pace with community needs, particularly for those earning at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI). Ironically, while home prices have risen dramatically — generally good news for a city's economy — this boom is also increasingly making rentals and for-sale housing unaffordable for too many in Denver and across the nation.
In 2021, one out of every three Denver households pays more than 30% of their income for housing. The average rent in Denver for a two-bedroom apartment is nearly $1,800 — much more than many working people can afford. Even a typical two-bedroom apartment renting at fair market rent ($1,375) would require a household to earn $30 an hour or $62,640 per year in Denver in order to afford it. That’s why it is so important that we work to create and preserve existing affordable housing and connect residents at any income level to new housing opportunities.
To address these pressing needs, we collaborate with partners to promote thoughtful, long-term housing solutions that help long-time residents continue to call Denver home. We help preserve existing affordable homes, support new affordable and mixed-income development to increase the supply of affordable homes in Denver, and create opportunities for wealth building through homeownership. Recent changes in state policy and opportunities for future legislation will allow us to broaden our impact and focus investments where the need is greatest.
We recognize that addressing affordability in Denver will take a multitude of different strategies over time, including those aimed at increasing the overall supply of housing in the city to keep pace with population. While increasing the overall supply of housing can help address the affordability of the City’s new and existing housing stock, increased inventory alone is unlikely to produce housing affordable to the lowest income and most vulnerable residents.
In five years, we will preserve affordable housing and create more truly mixed-income housing throughout Denver, with an emphasis on deeper affordability. We will connect our long-standing residents who feel housing-cost pressure to affordable housing in their neighborhoods. And we will increase homeownership in BIPOC-households to narrow the gap with the citywide homeownership rate of 50% and eliminate that disparity entirely in the longer-term as these households have suffered from racist historic practices like redlining and higher rates of involuntary displacement. By providing more affordable housing and preserving the affordable housing we have throughout the city, we will combat involuntary displacement and contribute to the diversity of our neighborhoods.