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Taxes and Fees are Going Up to Fight
Homelessness in Denver

by Joe Monzon, Denver, November 2016

 

Cities across the nation are working to deal with a growing homeless population. In Denver, skyrocketing property values, an influx of newcomers, and a booming marijuana trade is compounding the problem.

 

Starting January 1, 2017, property owners will pay higher taxes and developers will pay higher linkage fees for the first-ever dedicated local funding source for homelessness and affordable housing. Under the plan, property taxes will go up a half mill. In addition, new development fees assessed during the permitting process will range from 40 cents to $1.70 per square foot, depending on the type of new building or expansion project.

 

Officials expect to raise $10 million in the first year to pay for project subsidies and land purchases. A one-time addition of $5 million from general fund reserves is planned, including $1.5 million in proceeds from the city's recreational marijuana sales tax.

 

The city will allocate:

 

  • $9.4 million to support development projects producing income-restricted apartments or for-sale homes, totaling 533 units

  • $3 million for land acquisition that can be used for future projects to produce 120 units

  • $1.5 million for emergency assistance to 250 households at risk of being priced out of their housing

  • $600,000 for administration of the new housing fund

  • $500,000 for reserve uses

Over the next decade, the city expects to raise $156.4 million for the project, which includes a 10-year sunset provision, forcing a review down the line.