On Tuesday morning, Housing Colorado held a panel titled, “Unconventional Solutions to Low Housing Inventory” to discuss alternative methods used to address Denver’s housing crisis. The panel consisted of 4 speakers: Joe Rowan with Mile High Community Loan Fund, Tim Reinen of Radian, Mark Marshall of Urban Land Conservancy and Fred Yeazel of Denver Urban Renewal Authority. Each speaker presented their current methods used to address the affordable housing disparity, ranging from preservation of existing structures to the affordability of tiny homes. See below for a summary of each speaker’s presentation!
Mile High Community Loan Fund
MHCLF is a short-term lender that provides loans for the development and/or preservation of affordable housing, the development or renovation of commercial real estate and the preservation and/or development of facility space for nonprofit organizations. Joe Rowan presented on the concept of providing loans to homeowners specifically for the purchase of mobile homes. He argued that the perceptions of mobile home parks should change, as they are an excellent alternative to address metro Denver’s affordable housing shortage. Rowan explained that many local communities already have affordable housing in their backyard (ie mobile home parks) and we should begin investing in preexisting infrastructure instead of solely constructing new housing.
“Instead of always looking at brand new, let’s look at what is functional,” Rowan said.
Radian | Placematters is a community design center dedicated to creating healthier communities led by participatory design and community engagement. One of Radian’s key focuses is finding a creative approach to addressing the affordable housing shortage in Denver. Reinen presented on Radian’s “Beloved Community Tiny Home Village,” which was a grass roots effort led by numerous organizations including the Colorado Village Collaborative to help house those experiencing homelessness in Denver. Radian led all design efforts, and successfully created a design for Colorado’s first tiny home community for those experiencing homelessness (plus, it’s completely off the grid). Reinen explained that the entire village cost roughly $160K to build, which equates to just $11K per unit.
Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA)
DURA provides existing homeowners with zero to low interest loans for the rehabilitation of their homes. DURA’s unique approach of preserving low-income housing is a critical piece to addressing Denver’s affordable housing shortage.
Urban Land Conservancy
ULC aims to create equitable communities through the development and preservation of affordable real estate that would otherwise be lost to the market. Mark Marshall presented on the variety of ways ULC currently works to combat Denver’s affordable housing shortage including (but not limited to): our Community Land Trust (CLT), the development of affordable housing, leasing currently vacant land slated for development to Beloved Community Tiny Home Village and the creation of the nation’s first affordable housing Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Fund.