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2A17EEEF2419FA198725875700589F5D Hearing Summary


Date Sep 21, 2021      
Location Old Supreme Court

Affordable Housing Needs and Gaps - Committee Discussion Only

10:08:04 AM  
The committee came back to order.
10:23:03 AM  
Krisin Toombs, Andrew
Paredes, and Connor Everson, representing DOLA Division of Housing, provided
a presentation about affordable housing needs and gaps (Attachment B).
 Kristin Toombs, Director Office of Homeless Initiatives, discussed
the main cause of homelessness.  Ms. Tooms stated the vision for the
office is for all Coloradans to have a safe and stable place to live.  She
said that homelessness should be brief and rare, and no one should be left
behind.  Ms. Toombs discussed recent trends for homelessness in Colorado
and the country, such as a lack affordable housing, health challenges,
and systemic inequities creating issues.  She indicated that 40 percent
of homeless individuals have a disabling condition and/or have behavioral
health or medical needs.  In addition, she shared that people of color,
LGBTQ, and disabled individuals face system inequities.

10:28:21 AM  
Ms. Toombs indicated
that there is a correlation between cost of housing and homelessness.  There
was a discussion about early indicators of homelessness, gathering data,
and extrapolating data.  Ms. Toombs shared that the number of people
experiencing homelessness has doubled since the start of the pandemic,
according to Point in Time studies from January 2021. She stated that people
are coming to Denver to seek shelter.  She explained the Yearly Point
in Time studies which counts the number of people experiencing homelessness
by contacting homelss individuals in the community throughout the course
of one day.
10:35:30 AM  
Ms. Toombs presented
that homelessness is dynamic with about  18 to 20 percent of individuals
chronically homeless.  She indicated that incoming homeless individuals
typically replace outgoing homeless individuals.

10:36:25 AM  
Ms. Toombs talked
about proven solutions to end homelessness and highlighted a successful
program in Fremont County housing veterans.  She stated that state,
federal, and local resources made housing possible and shared that the
community was aware of the need, pulled partners together, and did what
was necessary.  She suggested that this may not be happening throughout
Colorado due do the complex needs of each community and limited resources.

10:38:50 AM  
Ms. Toombs discussed
data related to homelessness.
10:40:08 AM  
Andrew Paredes, Director
of Housing Finance and Sustainability at DOLA, provided information about
federal and state stimulus funds available for housing.  He stated
that $500 million is available: $400 million for affordable housing through
recommendations from the Affordable Housing Transformational Task Force;
 $98.5 million to DOLA Division of Housing through House Bill 21-1329;
and $1.5 million for the Eviction Legal Defense Fund.  Mr. Paredes
indicated that additional funds include $305 million for Emergency Rental
Assistance; $175 million to the Homeowner Assistance Fund; and $66 million
for homeless families, those at risk for homelessness, or other vulnerable
10:42:59 AM  
Mr. Paredes provided
additional details about the $66 million related to homeless individuals.
 He indicated that $41 million will be distributed to local municipalities,
while DOLA Division of Housing will use $25 million to create additional
housing for those with the lowest incomes.

10:43:50 AM  
Mr. Paredes talked
about Senate Bill  21-242.  He indicated that $30 million will
be used for housing units, rental assistance, and services to support families
that are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. Mr.
Paredes mentioned that funds may be used for non profits or locals to acquire
assets to repurpose for housing.  He also talked about $15 million
being provided directely to DOLA Division of Housing for direct support
to those not able to access other assistance programs.  

Mr. Paredes mentioned that a notice of funds available was released September
3 for local goernments, nonprofits, and for profit developers to identify
housing assets to purchase and put into service.  He said that $50
million is available and that applicants may also apply for services or
direct rental assistance. Mr. Paredes shared that applications are due
October 15 and the 15th of each month thereafter.  He stated that
the division's goal is a 60 to 90 day turnaround for decisions on applications
and indicated that the program will allow nonprofits and local governments
to compete with market rate developers.

10:47:03 AM  
Mr. Paredes indicated
that funds used to buy housing or provide permanent supportive housing
will allow applicants to quickly acquire a property and take the next steps
in developing the property, including seeking approvals for zoning, variance,
and financing.  He said that funds may be paid back within four years.
 If need be, he said that the asset may be used to provide another
type of housing or may be sold to return the money to the fund.

There was a discussion about work with local governments.  Mr. Paredes
suggest that funds may speed up the process and allow different approaches
to affordable housing.
10:51:19 AM  
Mr. Paredes discussed
House Bill 21-1271, including $12 million to incentivize local governments
to review and rewrite land use code, including technical assistance.  He
stated that communities may also use funds to make proactive changes and
apply for grants for new affordable housing or other community benefits,
such as parks.
10:54:08 AM  
The task force continued
to discuss funding for affordable housing.
10:57:00 AM  
There was a discussion
about using funds effectively.  DOLA representatives indicated that
local communities received ARPA funds, however these funds may be used
for other items besides housing.  DOLA staff indicated that Division
of Housing staff in various regions throughout the state are helping communities
determine how to spend funds.  Mr. Paredes indicated that project
applications require information about supports for a project, both funding
and communitywide.  He went on to say that smaller communities may
have less funding and more community support.

11:02:44 AM  
The task force discussed
the amount of funds that must be used on COVID-19.  The Divisision
of Housing will look at federal regulations and get back with the task
11:05:35 AM  
There was a discussion
about long term projects.
11:08:05 AM  
Mr. Paredes talked
about a pipeline of projects and how development works and is long-term.
 He said that land is usually acquired five to six years prior to
the build date, with existing properties acquired one to two years prior.
 Mr. Parades stated that as a general rule, assets are leveraged in
many forms to build projects.  He said that communities looking for
properties or vacant land to fill a housing need could take three to four
months to find a suitable build site and to buy the propert.  He shared
that once propoerty is purchased anvironmental and soil tests usually need
to be done before a site may be considered suitable for a project.  After
testing, Mr. Paredes indicated that developers look at the number of units
and the cost to create a financial portfolio to fund the project.  He
state that most developers apply for LIHTC, with applications for grants
and other funding taking up to a year or two.
11:12:25 AM  
The task force discussed
the report that will be created as a result of their work.  The discussion
included additional information needs, such as a backlog of development
created by the pandemic and the development process.
11:14:11 AM  
Connor Everson, representing
DOLA talked about affordable housing needs.  He talked about a variety
of needs, including more housing, sustainable houaing, and housing that
is in good condition.  Mr. Everson indicated that one third of Coloradans
are housing cost burdened.  He went on to discuss severely cost burdened
households, those with only a few dollars left after paying for housing.
 He said that that group needs the most affordable housing.  Mr.
Everson stated that the majority of severly cost burdened households are
in the workforce in low wage occupations, followed by those with a fixed
income, such as sniors or disabled individuals.
11:19:43 AM  
Mr. Everson continued
to talk about cost burdened households.  He mentioned that the most
vulnerable group are renters.
11:21:49 AM  
Mr. Everson talked
about trends during the COVID-19 pandemic, including more impacts on lower
income households, as well as younger households.  He stated that
racial and ethnic minorities are three times more likely to be behind on
11:22:50 AM  
Mr. Everson talked
about how affordable housing is an issue throughout the state.  He
stated that many households are renting beyone their income.  He indicated
that the number of apartments costing $600 or less has dropped by over
half in the last 6 years.  Task force members asked Mr. Everson for
additional data on the cost of homes and rentals.
11:26:28 AM  
Mr. Everson stated
stated that there has been an increase in housing for moderate, middle,
and high income families between 2010 and 2019.  However, he indicated
that there was less housing for lower income families in the same time
11:27:51 AM  
There was a discussion
about proven solutions related to homelessness.  The task force discussed
federal funds, which typically meet about 10 percent of the need, according
to Ms. Toombs.
11:30:59 AM  
The task force discussed
the rise in homeless in Denver.  Ms. Toombs indicated that anecdotally,
individuals are saying that Denver is the only place to go.  Ms. Toombs
will look for more data on this issue.  The task force talked about
a presentation from the State Demographer with regard to where folks are
11:32:17 AM  
The task force discussed
housing-related relief funding related to current AARPA funds.
11:34:37 AM  
There was a discussion
about rental income post pandemic.  Mr. Everson stated that rents
are increasing.  The task force discussed  data trends and housing
11:37:11 AM  
Cris White, representing
CHFA, stated that a statewide assessment will be completed in the near
future.  He indicated, though, that the survey and data will not be
complete for use by the task force.
11:39:35 AM  
The task force discussed
meeting both long term and urgent needs.  The Division of Housing
talked about their work on rental assistance and supporting communities
in acquiring properties for long term and near future needs.  DOLA
staff stated that needs are often complex and require onging support, rather
than just short term.
11:44:46 AM  
The task force talked
about the need for mulitple efforts.
11:45:28 AM  
The committee took a lunch break.

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