New Denver voucher program will help fill hundreds of vacant apartments

DENVER — This could be a break many people who live in Denver are looking for. 

A new voucher program designed to fill the hundreds of vacant apartments in Denver is about to get underway.

Every month 22-year-old Sara Moses says 50 percent of her check goes straight to rent.

“It's too much, especially for people who are trying to start jobs this young,” said Moses.
 
And she isn't alone. The current average rent in Denver is $1,400 a month, creating what many are calling an affordable housing crisis.

Nancy Burke with the Apartment Association of Metro Denver says more and more people are opting to rent.  

Burke says even with the more than 300,000 apartments in the Denver metro area, there is a growing demand for affordable housing.

“A lot of people are turning away jobs because they can't find a place to live that's affordable,” said Burke. 

Denver developer Mike Zoellner approached the city about creating a new program called Lower Income Voucher Equity or LIVE Denver. 

“This program would make up the differential between that amount you can't afford to pay and what the market's rent is,” said Zoellner. 

Here is how it works: single residents making between $23,500 to $47,000 a year and families of four making $33,500 to $67,000 a year can apply for the program at the Denver Housing Authority. 

If they qualify, they'll get a voucher and pay about 30 to 35 percent out of their income for rent. The program will set aside 5 percent of the monthly rent payments to an escrow savings account.

There are 400 units that will participate so far in the two-year pilot program. The program will begin later this month.

Affordable housing fund and commercial and residential impact fees will fund the program. 
 

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