Broomfield’s Housing Problem:
According to the Broomfield Housing Needs Study (February 2018), housing costs in Broomfield are dramatically increasing while wages are not keeping pace. Currently, more than one quarter of Broomfield renters are paying more than half of their income on rent, and nine percent of homeowners spend more than half of their income on their mortgage. These residents are considered severely cost-burdened according to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines.
This trend is concerning for our coalition members; research suggests that offering housing options for households of all sizes and stages of life benefits the larger community in the following ways:
Affordable housing yields economic benefits such as job creation, increased tax revenue, and improved worker/employer attraction and retention (Planning Commissioners Journal, 2011; Enterprise Community Partners, 2014)
Traffic is reduced (TransForm/Housing Leadership Council, 2018)
Affordable housing leads to more educated and equitable communities. Housing instability jeopardizes children’s performance and success in school and has serious negative impacts on both child and adult health (Enterprise Community Partners, 2014)
Because a diverse and attainable housing stock is vital for a thriving community, the Broomfield Housing Opportunity Coalition aims to work with public officials at the local level to seek proactive solutions to the housing issues in our community.
BHOC’s Housing Solutions:
BHOC members work to keep housing within reach for Broomfield residents at every income level. We strengthen our community by providing innovative housing solutions and assistance for other necessities like food and utilities.
Current BHOC member projects:
Broomfield Community Foundation pools charitable contributions from across the city to ensure financial support reaches Broomfield non-profits. Community Foundation grants are used only for programs and services that help the Broomfield community, ensuring our citizens directly benefit and that overall quality of life in the community is enhanced.
Broomfield FISH provides services to Broomfield residents who earn an annual income that is at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines. As a Family Resource Center, FISH offers food, rent, utility and transportation assistance, as well as family support services, In 2018 FISH helped 463 households avoid eviction and/or utility shut-off, ensuring that Broomfield families maintained warm, safe shelter.
A unique collaboration between Discovery Christian Church and Flatirons Habitat for Humanity is currently in the planning and development stages. The build will include twelve Habitat homes (triplexes) and a small nonprofit community center built on land donated by Discovery. Three of the Habitat homes will be dedicated to transitional housing in partnership with the City of Broomfield.
Flatirons Habitat for Humanity has also revived its Critical Home Repair (CHR) program in Broomfield, which helps homeowners with essential repair projects necessary to keep living spaces habitable. From building wheelchair-accessible ramps to making structural repairs, Habitat’s CHR program helps ensure that Broomfield homes are safe and accessible.
Foothills United Way Mile High United Way works to identify community priority needs and desired outcomes, unite community resources in pursuit of agreed-upon goals, and take action. Foothills United Way Mile High United Way and Boulder County Community Action Program provide the Personal Investment Enterprise (PIE) program helping to address housing issues by connecting individuals with low-income to a matched savings account and participation in financial education classes. These savings can be used for a down payment on a home or educational pursuits, for example.
Through its Growing Home program, Holy Comforter Church acts as a host site to help families in transition to home security. The church hosts families four times per year, which includes housing them at the church, cooking meals for them, and spending time getting to know them. The church also provides rental assistance and outreach, as available.
What is Needed Now:
BHOC is addressing the need for attainable housing, however, local policies need to be updated and/or changed to effectively accommodate those needs. Our priorities for local policy change include:
Activate Broomfield’s independent housing authority
Without separate staff for Broomfield’s housing authority, all county-wide housing policy decisions are made by the Broomfield City Council. By establishing a separate Board of Commissioners for its housing authority, City Council will allocate the time, resources, and expertise needed to begin solving housing issues in Broomfield more efficiently and effectively.
Establish a City Council-authorized fund to encourage development and acquisition of affordable units
Such a dedicated fund would enable the City to support innovative housing projects, including those initiated by nonprofit and private entities.
Formalize incentives for affordable housing development
One of the greatest challenges to affordable and attainable housing in Colorado is high cost of purchasing and developing land. By formalizing incentives, City Council can ensure that prospective developers in Broomfield are committed to building a set minimum percentage of affordable units.