Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver (Habitat) and Colorado Community Land Trust (CCLT) have merged effective July 30th, 2020. In the partnership, Habitat will take ownership of CCLT’s operations with the goal of expanding long-term affordability options for local homeowners, and increasing metro Denver’s affordable housing stock.
Habitat and CCLT are both established nonprofits that have been serving the metro Denver community for decades. One mutual goal of both organizations is to build and preserve affordable homeownership by increasing the number of affordable properties available, both immediately and long-term. To achieve this, CCLT uses a land trust model while Habitat uses a long-term affordability (LTA) covenant on home deeds. Collectively, the two organizations have served more than 1,200 local families by building and preserving affordable homeownership in metro Denver over the past 41 years.
Habitat and CCLT believe that by merging, the two organizations can decrease overhead costs and redundancies and focus more resources on program operations, strategic growth, and deeper impact. In fact, Habitat estimates that CCLT’s current operating costs could be reduced by 46% through this merger. Additionally, CCLT currently has two full time staff members, its executive director Jane Harrington who is retiring in 2020, and their community land trust manager who will become a Habitat Metro Denver staff member.
“This is a great example of the type of strategic partnerships Denver needs right now in order to create and preserve affordable homeownership,” said Cris White, executive director and CEO of Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. “Habitat Metro Denver and CCLT have strong reputations in our community for building affordable homes and ensuring long-term affordability of housing stock. By merging, these two organizations are poised to deepen their impact by addressing the growing need for affordable homeownership both today and in the future.”
Lack of affordable housing continues to be a major issue in metro Denver. In recent years (2012 – 2018), home prices in metro Denver have increased 72%, while wages rose only 12%. Additionally, Denver was just identified as the second most gentrified city in America. Gentrification disproportionally impacts low-income and minority residents through displacement and rising housing costs.
Habitat and CCLT have both focused long-term affordability efforts in neighborhoods most susceptible to the effects of gentrification – including Globeville and Elyria-Swansea. By broadening the scope of services and options for long-term affordability, Habitat and CCLT aim to fill a growing need for affordable homeownership in these communities.