Habitat Metro Denver Annual Report
July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021
July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021
they are the foundation that makes everything else in life possible. Success in school, financial stability, less stress and better quality of life… stable and affordable homeownership impacts all of these outcomes.
This past year has continued to challenge all of us in significant ways. As we navigate a global health pandemic, act to address the racial inequities in our nation, embrace our unhoused neighbors and establish a new normal way of life, the common underlying factor is healthy, safe housing. Affordable homeownership is more important than ever to provide people of all ages with immediate stability and long-term wealth.
Your generous gifts and steadfast support made these opportunities possible for 228 households this year!
The couple’s path to homeownership has not been easy. They have both experienced homelessness and know in a profound way the importance of a safe roof over their heads.
Quana and Zach both work hard to make ends meet, but they found it challenging to find decent housing in Denver.
“It feels like we’re just barely keeping up with the cost of living despite progressing in our careers and getting pay increases,” Quana shared before moving into her new Habitat home. Quana owns a fine art and consulting business, and Zach works as an art director for a local screen-printing company.
The couple had been renting a cramped apartment with a host of problems—floods, mouse infestations, and rising rent to name a few. At one point, they had to place pots and pans around their rental because rain was pouring through the ceiling. Ironically, this was also the most expensive apartment they’d lived in.
“It’s so hard to gain financial stability in Denver if you don’t own,” Quana says.
As artists, Quana and Zach can’t wait to express their personal creativity and style throughout their new home. One of the first things they plan to do is paint the walls and create their own gallery. “We can’t wait to make it a space we love,” Quana says. The couple also looks forward to cooking meals, and growing their own fruits and vegetables in a garden.
“This entire process has felt like a fantasy,” shares Zach.
but with climbing housing costs, homeownership seemed to be slipping further and further out of reach.
Javier and Griselda know that owning a healthy new home will make a big difference for their family of seven.
Before moving into their new Habitat home, they lived in a rental house. Though large enough for all of them, it was not a healthy environment due to a recurring mouse infestation and poor insulation. Javier spent his own time and money making improvements over the years to mitigate the problem—like replacing old carpet with hard flooring—but the pests kept coming back. And because the house didn’t hold heat, the family relied on portable heaters in each bedroom to try and stay warm in the winters. Stress from these problems impacted the entire family’s peace of mind and cost them countless hours of sleep.
Javier and Griselda’s children visited as they helped with the construction of their new house. They watched eagerly through the fence as their parents got to work on their current home.
Now, their dream is a reality.
These movements have spurred vital dialogues about racial justice and civil rights, a growing wealth gap, and the role housing plays in building equity. Even here in Denver, the racial disparities in housing were created by systemic policies like redlining, racial covenants, and exclusionary zoning.
At Habitat for Humanity, we recognize that we must do more.
In the past decade, the cost of housing in Denver has increased at two times the rate of incomes*. This dramatic gap is creating a hurdle for essential members of our workforce to afford housing in our market.
In metro Denver, about one in four households are housing cost burdened (paying more than 30% of their income towards housing). Too many of our neighbors can’t afford to buy a home or are having to make extremely difficult financial decisions for themselves and their families.
There are specific barriers to affordable homeownership like anti-growth measures that are regularly popping up on local ballots; NIMBYism (not in my backyard) sentiments that are stalling or stopping new affordable housing developments; and expensive material costs and permitting fees that are driving up the cost to build. Together, as a community, we can work to overcome these barriers.
We are engaging housing advocates, policymakers, and supporters through a nationwide advocacy campaign: The Cost of Home.
Working alongside more than 1,200 Habitat affiliates, we are mobilizing our partners, volunteers and community members to find solutions and help create policies that will allow 10 million individuals to meet their most basic needs.
We believe all people deserve a decent and affordable place to live, and that’s why we’re asking you to join us and take action!
a multi-generational, mixed-income community that supports simple, healthy living. Located a short distance from Regis University in the Chaffee Park neighborhood, these homes are part of a 17.5-acre development featuring organic gardens, a playground, and open spaces.
Aria Denver includes apartments for low-income residents, co-housing, senior housing, plus market rate condos and a Starbucks. This high opportunity neighborhood will be a wonderful home for so many hardworking residents.
Aria Homes by Habitat will be the first new Habitat development that will be a part of the Colorado Community Land Trust
Having witnessed skyrocketing housing prices in recent years, the couple felt their chances becoming even more slim. But with two young sons to take care of—ages 6 and 10 months—they didn’t give up hope.
All of the prices keep going up–for housing especially, but also groceries and gas and everything,” Isaiah shares. The couple was previously paying more than they could afford for housing when they found a low-income apartment to rent that fit their budget. Unfortunately, it was in a high-crime neighborhood. They worried about their family’s safety. “My son was exposed to a lot of stuff; people sleeping in the hallways and violent activity that a kid shouldn’t be exposed to,” Shelby recalls. Thankfully, they were able to move out of that rental and into Shelby’s uncle’s home in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood.
To make ends meet, Isaiah and Shelby both work full-time jobs.
Isaiah is a courier driver for a local hospital, and Shelby works as a custodian at Denver Public Schools. This past year has been a challenge with the pandemic. Not only did their oldest son have to attend kindergarten remotely, but they also expanded their family with a new baby right in the middle of lockdown. “It was very different having a baby during quarantine,” Shelby reflects. “My (extended) family is really supportive and lives nearby, so that was helpful.”
The couple is excitedly anticipating the comfort and independence that homeownership will bring. “To be on our own will be a huge accomplishment,” Isaiah shares. “Most people our age are still renting and not able to buy a home. It’s a huge life step that’s really going to pay off in a few decades—especially for our kids.”
These relationships allowed us to launch unique initiatives that are further expanding our impact on affordable homeownership in the community.
Habitat Metro Denver was thrilled to forge a strategic partnership and merger with the Colorado Community Land Trust (CCLT) on July 30, 2020. We are both established nonprofits that have been creating affordable homeownership opportunities in metro Denver for decades.
One mutual goal of both organizations is to increase long-term affordable homeownership. To achieve this, CCLT utilizes a land trust model, while Habitat uses a long-term affordability (LTA) covenant secured by a deed of trust.
With a severe shortage of affordable housing in our community, specifically affordable for-sale homes, we are committed to using every opportunity to expand our collective impact. Both organizations are mission-driven and have a successful history of building and preserving affordable for-sale homes in metro Denver’s expensive housing market.
We are stronger together. With expanded capacity, resources, and the ability to better adapt to the needs in our local community, our merged organization will be able to serve more homeowners and preserve affordable homeownership for generations to come.
We remain committed to providing low-income households with the benefits of owning a home, while preserving long-term affordability for homebuyers today and in the future.
South Metro Housing Options (SMHO) and Habitat Metro Denver embarked on a key partnership in support of our shared missions and visions.
Working together, we plan to renovate 59 existing houses in Littleton, converting them into affordable homes that will be sold to buyers making up to 80% of the area median income.
SMHO and Habitat see this partnership as an exceptional opportunity to add permanent, affordable for-sale homes to Littleton’s housing stock. In a sought-after community like Littleton, it has been a challenge for nonprofits to expand affordable housing options. They are usually priced out due to the high demand for land and homes in the area. In fact, these are the first homes Habitat will be developing in Littleton in our 42-year history.
The 59 homes are currently owned and managed by SMHO. Through this partnership, Habitat will serve as the contractor to perform repairs and renovations to the homes. We will also find qualified home buyers to purchase the homes once completed.
Habitat Metro Denver has partnered with the Colorado Visiting Nurse Association since 2017 on an aging-in-place program called CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place – Advancing Better Living for Elders). Together, our two organizations are able to provide a powerful combination of medical consultation and support, as well as critical home modifications to improve comfort and mobility.
Many seniors want to live in their homes as long as possible. However, keeping up with home improvements and maintaining a safe living environment can be challenging with age. CAPABLE provides modest improvements—such as safety bars and floor repairs—to help older adults remain in their homes longer, improve health outcomes, and decrease medical costs.
To date, we have been able to help 248 seniors age in place.
“I am fairly new to a wheelchair, and I noticed I was becoming pretty depressed about the fact that I couldn’t get into my bathroom, shower, or bedroom. After the (Habitat) work crew finished, though, I am thrilled to be able to access every room in my house, apart from my son’s room (which I’m pretty sure I don’t want to access anyway)!
Throughout the four days they were here, they were incredibly respectful and accommodating, and asked my opinion on everything. I could tell that they really enjoy what they do—they were singing and laughing and joking with each other. It was quite heartwarming to be a part of that!