Affordable Housing

As a candidate, I believe that the lack of affordable housing in Denver is a major issue that must be addressed. When people have access to affordable housing, they can invest in their communities, attend local schools, and thrive without the burden of high housing costs.

The high cost of living in our city, driven by hyperdevelopment and increased demand, has made it difficult for many working-class individuals such as teachers, police officers, firefighters, and office workers to afford decent housing. This issue is exacerbated by the city’s lack of requirement, until recently, for developers to incorporate affordability in their projects. However, I am confident that solutions are available to address this pressing issue. And I believe many developers want to be part of the solution.  By taking a proactive approach, we can ensure that all residents, regardless of their income level, have access to safe, affordable housing in Denver. Whether it be through implementing policies that require developers to incorporate affordability, or by exploring alternative housing solutions and incentives, I am committed to finding and implementing practical solutions to this critical issue facing our city.

We need to implement innovative solutions that both address our affordable housing crisis while preserving our historic neighborhoods. I propose a suite of affordable housing strategies that the City Council needs to consider:


Purposeful Development – When we think about how to be purposeful with development, there are two major components: affordability and location.

    • Inclusionary housing (requiring a certain amount of new units to be permanently affordable) has played a critical role in keeping new units affordable. As your next councilman, I will hold developers accountable to these requirements, just as I have through my decades of working as a public finance attorney.
    • Our city will see and need more responsible and neighborhood-friendly dense developments throughout the city, and our policies need to encourage this effort.
    • Nothing is more purposeful than direct investment.  The City must consider becoming a direct financial investor in the types of housing it wants to promote.
    • Sales and use tax exemptions, like the one I established in 2000, can be useful tools in incentivizing the types of development we need.  
    • Time is money, so we must revamp the permitting process to reduce wait times on applications.    
    • New developments should compliment the neighborhoods they are built in; we do not have to sacrifice existing properties. Displacing single family homeowners further encourages gentrification. I am committed to analyzing every development plan holistically and am not afraid to challenge developers.


Rent Control – Denver needs rent control, period.

    • When/If the General Assembly is able to lift the ban on rent control, I will act immediately to give much needed relief and security to the 140,000+ renters that call Denver home.  I led this effort in 2001 as a Senator and will continue to lead as a councilman.
    • Rent control is not the sole solution to our affordable housing crisis, but it is a valuable tool and necessary step to stabilize the rental market.


Public Housing – Instead of depending solely on the private sector, Denver can utilize a number of public housing initiatives to increase the supply of permanently affordable units.

    • Community land trusts are a great tool for increasing access to homeownership while lessening the impact of market demands. I support expansion of these projects across Denver.
    • I will support policy at the state level, or lead the effort at the local level, that gives the City and County of Denver the right of first refusal for multifamily properties being sold.


Zoning Reform – Unnecessary red tape has slowed important development projects, we can do better.

    • I support reforming our zoning codes to be more creative in how we make housing available. Transitioning commercial properties to residential, increased mixed use zoning, incentives for ADU’s, expediting approval processes for local developers should all be considered.