Mothers Advocating for Affordable Housing (MAAH) is collecting signatures
in an effort to persuade Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the City Council to support the creation of an ongoing funding source for affordable housing.
The group, formed earlier this year by Denver preservationist Dana Crawford and developer Susan Powers, has broadened its membership to include men, millennials and anyone else who cares about the lack of affordable housing.
"The rising cost of housing in Denver is impacting everyone," Powers says. "Earlier in the year, Dana Crawford and I pulled together a group of about 75 women from all different backgrounds to talk about what could be done to address it. We want to be a voice that supports efforts to create more housing for the full spectrum of needs from the homeless to our workforce who are unable to afford housing close to where they work."
The issue of affordable housing affects people from all stages of life, from the young, first-time employee to the couple starting a family to the baby boomer retiree. To afford the average two-bedroom rent of $1,550 in metro Denver, families need to hold 2.7 minimum wage jobs, according to MAAH. That's forcing many kids to live in inadequate housing and stressful family environments.
For those trying to buy their first homes, challenges in the housing market also are evident. With housing prices rising quickly, hitting an average sale price of $322,500 in August, and the supply inadequate to keep up with demand, the goal of home ownership is not achievable for many households.
The housing crisis also threatens the economy. Over the next five years, more than 300,000 new residents are expected to flock to the region as new businesses and jobs move here. But the region's economic growth could be threatened if innovative businesses and people choose to locate elsewhere because of a lack of affordable homes.
"This is not just an issue in Denver, but we are starting here because of the mayor's recent announcement to create an ongoing sources of funding for affordable housing, which has never existed before," Powers says. "We need people to join in and support this first step."
Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.