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.