September 2022Newsletter Article by BJ Scott, co-founder of the Affordable Housing Collaborative and longtime health care expert across the Pikes Peak Region.

We are excited to report that we have had traction on the following recommendations: 

  1. Sales Tax Rebate 

In July 2022 Colorado Springs City Council passed an ordinance that the owner of a qualifying affordable housing project (new construction or remodeling) will be eligible for a refund of City tax monies paid for the purchase or use of construction materials. This refund of sales tax paid on building materials purchased for an eligible project in Colorado Springs will be issued after construction is complete. 

2. Land Use Rebate

As an incentive to build more affordable housing, the Colorado Springs City Council passed a resolution in June 2022 to offer developers and builders a rebate on a certain percentage of land use fees. The resolution allows those parties to receive between 20% and 100% of fees in rebates depending on the type of affordable housing project. The fee rebate program would score housing projects to reward them for setting aside a majority of the units in a project for those who need them most based on income and ensuring the units will be affordable for more than 20 years, among other factors.
Examples of fees that could be included in the rebate are fees charged for parks, drainage, land use, review and other city functions under scoring system. A rebate of fees occurs after all fees are paid and the project starts construction. 

3. New Housing Organization
Another recommendation that had broad support at our two community convenings was the need to establish a fully staffed and empowered independent housing affordability central office that will partner with local governments, nonprofit and market rate developers, philanthropists and nonprofits to remove barriers and enable more housing at all price points, especially for the lower income wage earner in El Paso County. We are making great progress in identifying potential partners to house this new entity and actively raising funds to support three to five years’ general operating support. More to follow.

The new organization will enable our region to move forward on more recommendations from the Housing for All Action PlanThis is amazing progress as a result of the two 2021 community convenings attended by over one hundred people. The Affordable Housing Collaborative thanks the City of Colorado Springs for taking action to support the sales tax and land use rebates and its “Housing for All” partners who were instrumental in this work: Housing & Building Association; Apartment Association of Southern Colorado: Realtors Association: Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC; and Downtown Partnership.

Photo Credit: United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum