Lack of Affordable Housing Tops List of Concerns for Denverites
DENVER — A public opinion poll conducted last month on behalf of All In Denver, a non-profit public advocacy organization that focuses on urban sustainability issues reveals that Denver’s high-cost housing market is the most pressing local concern, and that voters are supportive of increasing local funding for solutions to the housing crunch.
Thirty-five percent of survey respondents identified affordable housing as their number one issue, a five percent increase from a similar survey conducted last year by All In Denver . Education, which ranked at the top of the list in the 2017 survey, ranked second at 31 percent in this recent survey, followed by homelessness at 24 percent, and the cost of living at 21 percent. Also, 96 percent of survey respondents agreed that homelessness is a serious problem in Denver, and 94 percent said the same of the lack of affordability in Denver home purchase and rents. Two out of three (66 percent) respondents agreed that Denver’s elected officials are not taking enough action to make housing more affordable and address homelessness.
Sixty-eight percent of voters supported a proposal that would allow the City & County of Denver to issue a $116 million housing bond backed by a property tax increase of one-half mill (about $16 per year increase for the owner of a median – priced home in Denver), and 64 percent supported an increase of one full mill ($32 increase per year) for a $232 million housing bond. Nearly three – out – of – four (73 percent ) of survey respondents supported a proposal to increase Denver’s local sales tax by one – tenth of a percent (or one penny on a ten – dollar purchase) to finance a housing bond of approximately $200 million .
“The results of this poll again shine a spot light on Denverites’ strong desire to prioritize affordable housing because it impacts everyone in our fast – growing city,” said Brad Segal, co-founder of All In Denver and a community development practitioner . “Denver’s housing market is increasingly out of reach for even moderate – income families, which threatens our city’s economic and cultural vitality. For Denver to remain a community of opportunity — where our residents can find quality, affordable homes with access to jobs, neighborhood amenities and resources — we have to make greater investments in housing. And this survey indicates that Denver voters are supportive of a bolder approach than our current strategies.”
“We have no shortage of ideas on how to create more home affordability in Denver,” added Andrew Romero, an All In Denver board member and affordable housing finance professional. “Denver ’s new 5-Year Housing Plan features strategies for transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness, community land trusts, accessory dwelling units to stabilize neighborhoods, down payment assistance to increase home ownership, and land acquisition . We know that zoning and land use policy also can make an impact . But we currently lack the financial resources to implement our strategies. The results of this survey clearly show that Denver voters see this as a citywide challenge that needs more energy, focus and funding.”
The survey results coincide with City Council’s recent approval of Denver’s 5 – Year Comprehensive Housing Plan, which outlines assistance and stabilization programs for low-income renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness. All In Denver and its members have advocated for more aggressive strategies, policies and funding for Denver’s affordable housing crisis.