Denver Offers Extra Housing to Working Class

Denver is utilizing its overflow of high-end rental apartments to house teachers, medical technicians, and others who are unable to afford skyrocketing rents in the city, The Wall Street Journal reports. Average rents in Denver have surged 30 percent over the past five years, according to MPF Research.

City officials and other organizations in the area are unveiling a program, the Lower Income Voucher Equity program (or LIVE Denver), that will pay the difference between what a lower-income resident can afford and the market rent of an apartment. The program will be open to single residents earning $23,500 to $47,000 a year, and families of four with household incomes of $33,500 to $67,000. Residents will receive subsidies to live in the units for two years. A portion of their rent will be put into a savings account to be used for a down payment.

“Instead of having these units sit vacant, if we can create opportunities to help some of our employees, our residents get into those units, that’s an immediate response,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told The Wall Street Journal.

The program plans to subsidize 400 units.

“This is not a welfare program or anything like that,” says Mike Zoellner, a local developer who helped create the program. “This is people who are working at hospitals, hotels, and food service. We want them in our community, and we want them in our building.”

Source: “Denver Has a Plan for its Many Luxury Apartments: Housing Subsidies,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 8, 2018) [Login required.]