A stable, affordable place to call home is the foundation for successful families and communities. In our region, that’s becoming harder and harder — but we know how to create homes that offer people the opportunities they deserve.

Denver is changing — some neighborhoods in a matter of months. Populations are swelling, prices are increasing, and buildable land is disappearing.

Development and preservation of affordable housing are not only an important component of Denver’s future — they are vital steps to take now.

As Denver has grown rapidly, so have economic disparities. More than one-third of Denver families are already cost-burdened, meaning they are paying more than 30 percent of their income toward housing. The city needs at least 15,000 more affordable units, and that number keeps increasing.

Development of affordable homes brings multiple benefits to our community. They create construction jobs, generate construction-related income and increase tax revenues.

Affordable homes are important beyond housing. They open doors for families to stay in the communities they were raised in and provide opportunities to bring diversity and revitalize neighborhoods.

Research shows stable homes improve outcomes in health care and education. Developed thoughtfully, affordable homes connect low-income families to jobs, good schools, transit and other essential resources.

Increasing density is a vital piece of meeting our needs — especially if we want people to be able to live in the communities they work in. In the frenzy of Denver’s growth, opportunities for further development in areas close to transit and services families rely on have become hard to come by.

We are now challenged with finding creative uses of space we can upcycle and revitalize. Additionally, as land prices have skyrocketed, efficient use of space is a critical component of the affordability puzzle and density is an important tool we have available to help meet the needs of our city.

Affordable housing projects are part of the inclusive development Denver needs to provide real housing solutions in a difficult environment. Ultimately, inclusive development is essential as we work toward racial equity and economic opportunity.

It’s time to envision a city where all residents have access to quality housing options that are affordable, healthy and stable.

As Denver pushes toward a progressive, inclusive future, affordable housing must be a real part of the conversation. There is an unmet demand for new development designed to provide basic, common sense opportunities for families to live well.

We must level the playing field in a city facing significant housing affordability challenges — and that means looking past our own front door.

Jennie Rodgers is the Vice President and Market Leader of Enterprise Community Partners in Denver. For 35 years Enterprise Community Partners has connected families with opportunity starting with well-designed, affordable homes.

This was provided by The Colorado Sun. The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization that covers people, places and issues of statewide interest. To sign up for free newsletters, subscribe or learn more, visit ColoradoSun.com.

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