Colorado Community Land Trust gets $80K to build affordable homes in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea

Jane Harrington, executive director of the Colorado Community Land Trust, hugs GES Coalition member Raymunda Carreon after Denver City Council approved a zoning exception for an ADU at an Elyria Swansea home, Jan. 7, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Jane Harrington, executive director of the Colorado Community Land Trust, hugs GES Coalition member Raymunda Carreon after Denver City Council approved a zoning exception for an ADU at an Elyria Swansea home, Jan. 7, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

An effort to keep families in north Denver is among several projects in the city to receive state grants to support development of housing for sale and for rent at below-market prices.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing said in a news release Friday that the Colorado Community Land Trust received $80,000 to build two for-sale duplex buildings in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods.

Residents of those north Denver neighborhoods have been working since 2015 to establish a trust in which homes owned by individual households sit on land they own communally. Taking the land out of the equation could help families on low, moderate and fixed incomes in a neighborhood where property values and taxes have been increasing fast. The grassroots GES Coalition has worked with the Colorado Community Land Trust, which has been organizing land trusts since 2002, when it started with affordable homes in Denver’s Lowry neighborhood. The coalition also has worked with Brothers Redevelopment, which builds and manages affordable housing and provides other services to low-income homeowners and renters.

Last year the GES Coalition secured $2 million in funding for its land trust from Colorado Department of Transportation, which had sought community projects to mitigate the displacement and disruption it’s causing in the area with its Interstate 70 expansion and renovation project. The prospect that the long neglected community near downtown will be better connected after the I-70 work is completed is seen as one of the reasons property values in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea have been rising.

Another $2 million in city funding was pledged this year for the GES Coalition land trust. Jane Harrington, the Colorado Community Land Trust’s executive director, said the $80,000 announced Friday was the first grant from the state Division of Housing for the project.

Harrington said as more funds were being sought, the project had reached a milestone: a first home ready for sale.

The home was purchased and renovated by Brothers Redevelopment, Harrington said. The work was completed about two weeks ago and the GES Coalition has been spreading the word to prospective buyers.

“There’s a number of interested buyers,” Harrington said.

It is hoped the home will go to a family renting in the area now or a family that was forced to leave the neighborhood because of rising housing costs, Harrington said. The goal of the trust has been to prevent or reverse displacement, she said.

The two duplexes for which the state grant was received are modular homes, a construction method that will mean they will be ready quickly. Harrington expected the duplexes to be ready for sale in the spring.

The duplexes and the recently renovated home are restricted to households earning no more than 80 percent of Denver’s area median income.

Among the other Denver state housing grants announced Friday was $645,000 to help turn a dormitory on the Loretto Heights campus in southwest Denver into the Pancratia Hall Lofts, 68 studios and one-and-two bedroom units for households earning between 30 to 80 percent of the area median income.

The Northeast Denver Housing Center received a grant of $2 million for its Central Park Urban Living project in Stapleton near the Central Park light rail station. Planned are 132 for-sale condominiums restricted to households earning under 80 percent AMI.

Denver’s area median income is $92,800 for a family of four. Housing is considered affordable if rent or mortgage payments are a third or less of household income.

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