FRESC Pushes for Affordable Housing in Denver

July 24, 2014 -- Partnership for Working Families
Councilwoman Robin Kneich (left) meets with FRESC staff and fair housing supporters

Councilwoman Robin Kneich (left) meets with FRESC staff and fair housing supporters.

FRESC-Good Jobs, Strong Communities packed the house at a recent affordable housing community meeting hosted by Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kneich. At the standing-room-only event, FRESC leaders shared their stories of struggling to find reasonably priced homes in a booming city where the average median home sales price is over $315,000 and apartment rents skyrocketed by 8% since 2013. Councilwoman Kneich, along with FRESC, developers, and community leaders, has proposed changes to the city's Inclusionary Housing Ordinance that would require more stringent requirements on developers either to build more affordable units or contribute to city investments in affordable housing.

"Even though I have a professional job as an accountant, I literally can't find a house to buy that I can afford," said Hartripat Kaur, a FRESC leader and Denver resident. "The changes to the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance will give me a chance of buying a home where I can raise my family."

Passing the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance is just one aspect of FRESC's multi-pronged strategy to increase affordable housing options for low- and middle-income families in Denver. This last week in the Mayor’s State of the City, particular attention was given to the affordable housing crisis facing the city, with the Mayor stating that at least “38% of Denver’s renters don’t earn enough to cover rising housing costs”. FRESC, along with community leaders, has pushed for a permanent funding source to come to Denver, and in the Mayor’s first release of his housing plan, Item 1A is to create a fund of over $8 million for the development of affordable housing in the first year.

Determined to amplify the community's concerns, the organization is also advocating for quality low-income housing in the transit-oriented development occurring along the RTD light rail line being constructed now.  FRESC expects the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance to be heard and hopefully passed by the full council in August.