Affordable Infill Rental Housing

Poverty Reduction Strategy no. 10

Provide opportunities to add rental housing units in mature neighborhoods to reduce housing cost burden.

Reduce housing costs and increase access to opportunities

As housing costs continue to grow, more people are paying more than 30% of their income towards housing. An increase in affordable housing units in established neighborhoods can reduce housing costs for low-income renters and increase access to amenities. The need for affordable units will continue to rise as household sizes are getting smaller.

Action: Ease zoning requirements to include innovative infill strategies to reduce housing costs.

Additional Benefits: Reduced strain on infrastructure, increased access to amenities for low-income populations. Combats the loss of housings units by conversions of mutli-family buildings into single family in wealthy neighborhoods.

Stakeholders: City planning and zoning departments, city council, homeowners.

Where it’s been done: Low-income homeowners in West Denver, many of Hispanic ethnicity, are facing displacement threats as property taxes rise as a result of gentrification. Accessory dwelling units (ADU) can be a wealth building tool for low to moderate income homeowners and West Denver Renaissance Collaborative, a local non-profit provides assistance to homeowners to access loans, find tenants and manage their ADU units. The ADUs rents must be below 80% of Denver's area median income maximum rent to allow lower-income renters to gain access to single family rental options in sought after West Denver neighborhoods.

  • Best Practice #1

    Madison Community Cooperative (MCC)

    Madison, WI: Madison Community Cooperative (MCC), a non-profit housing cooperative houses 200 members across 11 properties in downtown Madison. Membership is made up of low to moderate income people and marginalized groups, ranging from university students to families. The rent including room, board and utilities averages around $535 per month.

  • Best Practice #2

    Petaluma Avenue Homes

    California: Petaluma Avenue Homes is one of the first affordable rental cohousing communities in the US. Established in Sebastopol, CA in 2009 with funding from the city, county and low income housing tax credits, the 45 townhomes and apartments serve low income families and seniors. The 2.5 acre infill devleopment, is open to families making up to 60% of area median income.

  • Best Practice #3

    SRO Buildings

    Chicago, IL: City of Chicago, in a bid to preserve single room occupany (SRO) buildings, passed an ordinance in 2014 which provides affordable housing developers priority when SROs are available for purchase. The city ordinance also created a preservation strategy that mandates preservation of at least 700 affordable units by 2018. The initial seed money for the SRO Preservation Fund was fronted by the city, with funding in the future years expected to come from developers who convert SRO units into market rate units. According to a recent news article 1,500 units across 11 buildings have been preserved since 2014.

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