Item No. 1 - Affordable Housing

Affordable housing continues to be identified as an issue by Wheat Ridge residents. On the biennial Resident Survey, respondents were asked to rate the “availability of affordable quality housing” in Wheat Ridge. Only 37% of respondents rated this characteristic of Wheat Ridge as excellent or good in 2021, a significant decrease from 51% in 2012
This is a recording of the November 15, 2021, City Council Study Session


Files

Memo 1 - Affordable Housing ( 0.28 MB )
Item 1 - ATTACH 1 - Affordable and Workforce Housing PPT ( 3.16 MB )

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Online comments closed at 12:00 PM MST 11/15/21.
I support City Council doing all it can to expand access to affordable housing in the City. Housing prices have continued to grow much faster than wages, both for renters and homeowners, causing more and more households to pay more than the recommended 30% of their income on housing. I was struck this weekend, reading the New York Times' piece "Will Real Estate Ever Be Normal Again?". It reads: "Now the largest living generation [millennials], they control just 4 percent of America’s real estate equity; in 1990, when baby boomers were a comparable age, they already controlled a third. What’s more, because of the financialization of housing, millennials need more savings or to take on greater debt to buy a house than previous generations did. The end result is that millennials buying their first home today are likely to spend far more, in real terms, than boomers who bought their first home in the ’80s." As a millennial still straining to afford their first home, despite being a decade older than my parents when they bought their first home, the piece resonated. I would love to own a home in Wheat Ridge, and if I'm struggling to compete to buy a home - with a masters degree and a professional job - how can we expect Wheat Ridge to remain accessible for people of a variety of jobs and incomes? There is unlikely to be one silver bullet solution, but instead will require a number of different strategies, including preserving existing affordable housing - both deed-restricted and "naturally occurring" affordable housing, building new affordable housing, and allowing increased housing supply via relaxing restrictive land use controls - like enabling ADUs, your other agenda item. I encourage City Council to pursue a holistic set of strategies, and urge my neighbors to be open-minded and generous with allowing more neighbors in our city. While doing so entails some degree of change, I would argue it is on the whole very positive - enabling more residents in Wheat Ridge adds to our tax base to invest in parks and other public amenities, supports local businesses by increasing foot traffic, and contributes to our sustainability goals by allowing more people to live in an area with transit service, walking and bicycling infrastructure, and proximity to restaurants, grocery stores, jobs, and other key destinations. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
November 14, 2021, 12:23 PM
Kelly Blynn
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