Program Launches to Create 330 Units of Permanently Affordable Homes Across Colorado
Radian and Interfaith Alliance of Colorado will develop new affordable housing options attainable to households earning from 0 percent to 80 percent of Area Median Income, thanks to a $419,400 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation able to scale up the Congregation Land Campaign (CLC).
The Congregation Land Campaign seeks to activate the thousands of underutilized acres of land owned by faith communities across Colorado for affordable housing development through idea promotion, workshop facilitation, capacity building, technical assistance, connections to equity-focused developers, and community engagement. Over the next 18 months, Radian and Interfaith Alliance will engage 11 new congregations, create a housing development pipeline of 330 affordable units, and develop a business plan for sustainable growth.
“The high cost of land and a lack of technical assistance is limiting the expansion of desperately needed affordable housing across the state of Colorado,” said Nathan Davis Hunt, director of Economic Justice at Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. “Faith communities with a mission to seek justice and serve their communities are stepping up, offering to provide their land to values-driven developers with the expertise to build and manage affordable housing. This grant from the Foundation will allow us to scale our model and create a much needed pipeline for new housing for Coloradans who are experiencing homelessness, as well as lower-wage workers seeking to buy their first home.”
In 2017, Radian piloted the Congregation Land Campaign with a partnership with First Congressional United Church of Christ in Longmont, CO. Currently under construction, the project will include six units of permanent affordable housing ranging in size from 400 – 600 square feet on land that was deeded to The Inn Between of Longmont for one dollar. The land cost savings allows for the inclusion of supportive housing services including case management and life training skills for future residents who are currently at risk of homelessness..
Radian and Interfaith Alliance are currently working with five additional congregations to explore housing options, identify development models that meet their needs and the needs of the community, and connect them with development and service provider partners.
“We’re encouraged by the outpouring of action from congregations throughout the state to activate land for community benefit and affordable housing. This partnership between Radian and Interfaith Alliance is a concerted effort in creating projects based on community need and participatory design,” said Tim Reinen, executive director of Radian. “Creative solutions like this will disrupt current development trends and focus on getting people into affordable housing options more quickly than existing systems.”
“An affordable home is vital to bringing health in reach for all Coloradans,” shared Maribel Cifuentes, portfolio director at the Colorado Health Foundation. “We are excited to partner with Radian, Interfaith Alliance, and congregations throughout the state to strengthen the existing affordable housing system in Colorado by building capacity at the community level and truly supporting those that need it the most – Coloradans living on low income. Our hope is that a home becomes an affordable reality to all in our state.”