Rocky Mountain Chapter

Economic Impacts of Affordable Housing in Colorado Impressive

The Sierra Club – Rocky Mountain Chapter, together with 21 other groups, paid for a study of the economic impacts of a statewide affordable housing.  Economic & Planning Systems, issued its draft report (full release in Sept. 2002) showing the community/social and economic impacts that a $26.5 million housing trust fund might have.

In Colorado, affordable housing needs remain a crisis. Statewide, the Division of Housing identifies a need for 107,170 housing units (2,000 emergency shelter, 47,600 deep subsidy rentals, 18,880 worker rentals, and 38,690 subsidized homeownership units) half of which could be met by an affordable housing trust fund.

The non-renewal of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and Gov. Owens veto of the Division of Housing’s $2.9 million line item for affordable housing has left Colorado without significant funding to meet affordable housing needs.

Community and Social Benefits

Economic & Planning Systems identified significant benefits from the affordable housing trust fund:

·        Health – helping families to move into better quality housing, elimination of lead-based paint hazards, and savings in public health care costs.

·        Family stability – 3,800 low income households will have access to decent affordable housing, leading to a better chance at school success for children

·        Growth and Transportation – providing affordable housing opportunities near employment centers will limit sprawl and traffic congestion.  Shorter commute times will build community participation in civic and school activities.

·        Welfare to Work – Colorado families can expect increased access to work and employment success.

·        Economic Development – a diversity of housing types near employment centers enhances Colorado’s competitive position in attracting and retaining business.


In addition to these positive environmental benefits, the study outlines the large financial impact of an affordable housing trust fund to Colorado.


Economic Benefits

The annual economic benefits will be:

Employment – more than 2,800 new jobs will be directly and indirectly supported

Spending – Nearly $295 million of new economic activity from construction and real-estate related activity.

Construction – this industry will have $159 million in spending and 1,145 jobs.

Real Estate – an additional $1.2 million and 4 new jobs.

Tax Revenues – increased business and household spending (by reducing the rent/housing burden) will generate sales tax revenue of $4.3 million, new property tax revenue of $2.8 million and $1.8 million in state income tax revenue.

Spending Patterns – formerly rent/housing burdened households will have an average of $2,460 annual income to spend on other goods, including health care, food, and transportation.

Funding Sources

A smaller study by EPS examined possible funding sources for a statewide housing trust fund. The two best sources for revenue were found to be a real estate transfer fee, or a documentary recording fee.

The Sierra Club looks forward to working in coalition with other groups to promote an affordable housing trust fund this coming political season.

Bill Myers

Kathy Glatz, Environmental Justice Chair

Bill Myers, Sierra Club affordable housing issue liaison

Challenge to Sprawl Campaign committee.

For more information on affordable housing, visit the Sierra Club’s

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Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter | 1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 200, Denver CO 80202 | 303-861-8819