August 2, 2018 Sponsored content from Local Initiatives Support Corporation Sometimes, the solution to a seemingly intractable problem is staring you right in the face. That turned out to be the case in Denver, Colo., where a fix for the mounting affordable housing crisis was standing smack in the middle of the city’s booming skyline — in the form of 21,000 brand-new, market-rate apartments sitting vacant, while some 13,000 Denver residents struggle to make rent each month.

It all started last year with a series of brainstorming sessions among friends in the affordable housing business — finance and equity specialists, dealmakers, policy folks, we ran the gamut. We were mulling over the irony that so many teachers, police officers and health care workers were getting priced out of a city with a glut of quality housing — something many U.S. communities experience today.

It was certainly worth a try. And in less than a year, those conversations led to a first-of-its-kind initiative called LIVE Denver (LIVE stands for Lower Income Voucher Equity), that will bring hundreds of those vacant units within financial reach of severely rent-burdened families.

Just last month, the Denver City Council approved a $1.2 million funding partnership to make it happen. It took some doing to make LIVE Denver a reality because nothing like it has ever been done before.

First, National Equity Fund, an affiliate of the organization where I work, began the financial modeling to determine what a private housing subsidy would look like and how the city government could seed it. Then my organization, LISC was brought in to refine the process and manage the fund, and begin connecting with the owners of some 400 high-end units who were interested in taking part in the pilot. Read more from nextcity.org…

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