Denver officials take interest in no-interest loan for subsidized homes in Sun Valley

Redevelopment of the neighborhood rolls on with the public housing funding proposal.
2 min. read
Public housing run by Denver Housing Authority in Sun Valley, Sept. 12, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

UPDATE: City Council approved the loans on Oct. 7.

A Denver City Council committee on Tuesday took a step toward funding a Denver Housing Authority development that will replace and add to subsidized housing in Sun Valley.

In unanimous votes Wednesday, the Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee forwarded a proposal to the full Council that awards nearly $3 million in no-interest loans to the housing authority, a quasi-municipal corporation, to build initial phases of Sun Valley Gateway.

DHA already has tens of millions of dollars of state, federal and private financing for the redevelopment of one of Denver's poorest neighborhoods. Construction started earlier this year on the first of six phases. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Sun Valley Gateway will have about 750 homes, including 330 subsidized units that replace the 330 built in Sun Valley in the 1950s (among the older subsidized homes in Denver). The rest of the new units are about evenly split between apartments set aside for people who meet income limits and apartments that will be rented at market rates. The inclusion of market-rate apartments helps make the rest affordable, according to city and DHA officials.

A typical family living in DHA housing earns less than $12,000 a year.

"We are serving extremely low-income households, really, households that might otherwise be homeless," Guerrero, DHA's executive director, told the Council committee Wednesday.

Most of the residents of the existing DHA Sun Valley apartments, the oldest public housing in Denver, will be able to stay in their homes until the new units are ready. Initially 58 units were demolished to make way for the new development. Guerrero said Wednesday that five of those units were vacant when demolition began. From the remaining, 19 of the families moved to other DHA apartments in Sun Valley, 26 moved to other public housing and eight used housing vouchers to move to market-rate homes.

All the current residents have a right to a place in the new development if they want it, Guerrero said.

DHA's Mariposa District, completed in 2017, replaced and expanded on its old South Lincoln Park Homes and has been credited with revitalizing that part of Denver. Guerrero said Wednesday that more than 50 percent of South Lincoln Park residents returned to homes in Mariposa.

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