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Colorado awards affordable housing, down payment grants across the state

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Lindsey Toomer

(Colorado Newsline) State housing officials announced over $16 million in funding that will go toward affordable housing units and $2.4 million for down payment assistance across Colorado.

Members of the State Housing Board, which is part of the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing and advises on housing needs, voted to approve the individual funding requests.

Projects that received affordable housing funding will add 465 rental and for-sale housing units, according to a news release from DOLA. Some units are designated specifically for low-income residents.

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Cathy Alderman, spokesperson for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, said the affordable housing options the grants will support is the housing Colorado has the greatest need for.

“These are the kinds of housing projects that are going to go a really long way in trying to address Colorado’s affordable housing crisis,” Alderman said. “We’ve got plenty of luxury units out there sitting empty, lots of brand new single-family homes that are too expensive for anyone to afford, but through these programs we’re actually getting much more affordability for those households in greatest need.”

The city and county of Broomfield received $1.5 million to help 40 households over the next two years through its Down Payment Assistance Program. The program provides financial and technical assistance to eligible middle-income borrowers looking to purchase a home in Broomfield.

“We are thrilled that the City and County of Broomfield was awarded $1.5 million from Proposition 123 funds for the Down Payment Assistance Program in Broomfield,” Mayor Guyleen Castriotta said in a statement. “In the first year, 2024, $750,000 will be utilized, and the remaining $750,000 in the second year, 2025. And these funds will go directly to the down payment assistance for new homebuyers in Broomfield.”

In 2022, Colorado voters approved Proposition 123, which dedicates an additional $300 million annually to the state’s affordable housing efforts. It protects the additional revenue by exempting the funds from the annual limits set by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, the 1992 constitutional amendment that places restrictions on Colorado’s tax and spending levels.

Sharing Connexion, a nonprofit that connects real estate resources to affordable housing organizations, received $2.5 million that will allow it to purchase the Capitol City Mobile Home Park in Denver.

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“By offering funding opportunities tailored to support vital housing solutions, the state is a very important partner helping advance innovative efforts, such as our preservation of nearly 80 mobile homes from displacement in the Westwood neighborhood,” said Chérie Talbert, executive director of Sharing Connexion.

At least one recipient might reject the award over concerns around its insurance and affordability requirements. Escuela San Mateo, a Durango organization that funds education and construction projects, is slated to receive $1.1 million to support the continued construction of Pine River Commons Townhomes in Bayfield. The 22 for-sale townhomes would be accessible and deed-restricted for those making up to 100 percent of the area median income.

Charles Albert, who founded Bayfield Haga, the LLC owned by Escuela San Matea that is developing the townhomes, said the contract that grantees need to sign to accept the funding places a lot of obligations and restrictions on their projects. He’s concerned about the “limited number of buyers” who would qualify for lending requirements while making less than 100 percent of the area median income, as well as some of the insurance requirements for the construction of the project, he said.

“The contract really presents a lot of risk to us as the developers,” Albert said. “This isn’t a municipal project … I’m funding the whole thing myself.”

Albert said he’s weighing whether he will attempt to negotiate with the state to ease some of the requirements or decline the funding and sell the units at market rate, though he’s leaning toward the latter. He said the state didn’t communicate all the requirements of the grant funding when he applied.

Other projects that received grants include:

  • Overlook @ Uplands, a proposed 247‐unit multifamily community in Westminster, received $3 million to build units that will help larger working families and single heads of households. The community will include 71 one-bedroom units, 130 two-bedroom units, and 40 three-bedroom units, all of which will be available to households at or below 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent and 70 percent of the area median income.
  • The Loveland Housing Authority received $4.55 million for the third phase of its Edge Affordable Apartment Home Community, The Edge III. The funding will help finish the last 66 units in the project, which will include studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units available to those at 30 percent of the area median income. The entire community will have 205 units upon completion.
  • Brigit’s Village, which will add 40 affordable rental units in Frederick, received $3 million to support the project’s construction. The community will help low-income seniors stay in their homes and allow families, including single-parent households, to live closer to employment opportunities and schools.
  • The San Luis Valley Housing Coalition received $3 million for the construction of Sawmill Meadows, which will have 10 modular units for workforce housing in South Fork. The units will be sold when the project is complete and will remain affordable.
  • Elevation Community Land Trust, a Denver nonprofit, received $888,000 to support its Housing Assistance Program, which provides down payment assistance loans to help reduce principals or meet lender requirements, fund closing costs, or for permanent interest rate buy-downs to reduce monthly payments. The organization expects it will provide 40 loans over its two-year contract.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.