Denver: Join Us in Voting Yes on 2O

By Heather Lafferty and Stefka Fanchi

This April 4th, if Denver voters say vote yes on Ballot Measure 2O, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver and Elevation Community Land Trust will have a rare opportunity to build over 300 affordable for-sale homes in the Park Hill neighborhood. These homes will provide stable, permanent homeownership for families –  homes where their children will grow up, where they will share meals and great memories, and where they will build roots and savings.

The private landowner, Westside Investment Partners, has agreed to donate 7.8 acres of land that will go into a land trust, making these homes permanently affordable. Recently, the editorial board at a rival Denver newspaper chose to value the worth of the easement exclusively on the land, applying a value of $3.5M per acre.  If an equivalent standard is applied, the value of the land donated to Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver and Elevation Community Land Trust is approximately $26,000,000 – a substantial contribution that we as affordable housing developers recognize as transformational.

Our organizations view the redevelopment of the Park Hill Golf Course as a rare opportunity to bring homeownership access to a community that continues to experience incredible disparities based on race, affecting families’ ability to build wealth. Affordable and attainable homeownership in Denver is increasingly rare and difficult to develop due to the cost and availability of land and resources. Lifting the easement on the former golf course property is an opportunity to make significant progress against our city’s growing affordability crisis while also preserving open space that is truly accessible to the entire neighborhood.

Projects like this are vital in supporting community by creating affordable homeownership opportunities.  And affordable homeownership is the foundation for thriving families and thriving communities.

When we consider the transformational power of homeownership, we think of families like Arthur and Gianna. Arthur and Gianna are natives of North Denver and will move into their new Habitat home this spring at the Aria Homes development. Currently, Arthur, Gianna and their three young kids are renting a home from a family member, but the house has aging fixtures and old windows that let in the elements year-round.

Gianna shared recently that stability for them and their kids is what excites her most about owning their own home. She said “It’s the little things I look forward to. Trying out our new gas stove. Cooking for my mom. Hosting friends and family to watch football. Seeing my kids grow up with plenty of space, and their own bedrooms. We feel very, very blessed.

Owning an affordable home has immediate benefits for families like Arthur and Gianna – and it also has ripple effects for families that can be felt for generations. Children get to stay at the same school year-after-year, as their parents no longer chase cheaper rent. Parents are able to build wealth and save money as a result of having a consistent, affordable mortgage. Memories are made and traditions are established. Neighbors get to know one another. Community is built. This is the power of what we do every day at Habitat and Elevation – and this is what we have the opportunity to build with ballot measure 2O. 

A yes vote on 2O is critical to remedying the historical inequities of the city, and creating community amenities that benefit everyone.

A vote against 2O is does not ensure that affordable housing can be built somewhere else in Park Hill. We can be certain, however, that an affordable housing project of this size may never happen again in Denver.

Housing is the single most important need for residents wanting to remain in the area. Affordable homeownership gives current and former residents of Park Hill the opportunity to own the future of their community, build wealth, and maintain stability for themselves and future generations.

Heather Lafferty is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Stefka Fanchi is CEO of Elevation Community Land Trust