Denver mayor to add “chief housing officer” to growing housing staff

The new hire will oversee up to 20 people and a $20 million budget within Denver’s Office of Economic Development.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Mayor Michael Hancock plans to add another executive to a growing group of housing officials in Denver.

Hancock is searching for a “chief housing officer” who will manage long-term strategy and implementation of the city’s housing plan, according to job postings.

The new hire will oversee up to 20 people and a $20 million budget within the Office of Economic Development (OED). Applications for the job are due today, Feb. 12.

A growing cast:

This comes just more than a year after Hancock hired Erik Soliván to lead the new “Office of Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere,” aka HOPE. That role was pitched as a coordinator and adviser to the mayor on housing and homelessness issues.

At the time, the city administration said that Sólivan would “help craft a coordinated and comprehensive strategic roadmap for the city’s policies, programs and projects along the full homeless-to-homeownership spectrum.”

The city’s housing staff also includes Rick Padilla, who was hired as the “director of housing and neighborhood development” for OED in 2014. He was described then as a leader of the city’s previous affordable housing plan.

Housing shuffle:

The hiring of a chief housing officer is another step in a reorganization of the housing effort. Soliván’s office, once independent, became a part of OED in January.

“The changes to the housing shop specifically are being made in order to establish a more resilient and robust citywide housing team, to improve coordination and alignment of housing policy with housing operations,” wrote Derek Woodbury, OED spokesman.

“The new chief housing officer will oversee our program functions, including unit development and preservation, housing services, policy execution, housing finance, and program compliance. This new position will oversee HOPE and all other positions. Previously, these responsibilities were spread out throughout the organization. We are now refocusing our efforts, and a team of ten is set to more than double in size as we complete the realignment efforts.”

The chief housing officer will report directly to Eric Hiraga, who was hired in August as the executive director of OED.

The paycheck:

The chief housing officer will “earn a salary commensurate with experience,” per the job posting. The executive pay grade allows a range from $111,440 to $178,304, according to city documents.

The new job will be a mayoral appointee, meaning Hancock can hire and fire them at will.

This is a developing story and may be updated.