“When Mary Putman began deploying employment as a tool to end homelessness in metro Denver, helping someone get and keep a job usually led to housing.
That was almost a decade ago. In more recent years, a place to live has remained out of reach for people experiencing homelessness who have undergone training and found work through Putman’s Reciprocity Collective, she said. These days, Putman ends up pointing some people to rec centers where they can grab a shower before heading to work after a night in their cars. Others couch surf. Putman even occasionally arranged an Airbnb room.
“That’s how the gaps are being filled: very creatively,” Putman said.
Thursday, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released its latest annual report on the challenge low-income renters face, “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes.” Nationally, the coalition found just 37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 families who were either below the poverty level or earning less than 30 percent of the area median income. The situation was even more dire in metro Denver, where just 26 homes were available for every 100 of the 80,368 poorest households, up from 25 last year.
The coalition uses a common computation to determine affordability: rent should not take up more than 30 percent of a household’s income. The coalition also looked at how many units were actually available — not rented to higher-earning households — to the poorest households.
At the other end of the spectrum in the Denver area, people earning 100 percent of the area median income had a surplus of units. The National Low Income Housing Coalition determined 103 units were affordable and available for every 100 households earning 100 percent of AMI.”
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Bryson, Donna. Denverite 14 March 2019.