On August 19, 2022, the Arvada Chamber of Commerce hosted The Housing Conundrum at Revive Church (The Bridge, 8270 W. 80th Ave). At this Community Impact Forum, we heard an overview of Community First Foundation’s Housing Study, plus updates on metro Denver housing challenges from a panel that includes Tyrone Adams (CEO, Colorado Association of REALTORS), Dieter Raemdonck (Lobbyist, Recht Kornfeld, P.C.), Senator Rachel Zenzinger, and Ryan Stachelski (Director of Community and Economic Development, City of Arvada).
Arvada Chamber President Kami Welch set the stage with definitions of housing that would be used throughout the forum.
- Attainable / Affordable Housing
Housing in which the occupant(s) is paying no more than 30% of his or her income for gross housing costs, including utilities.
- Cost Burdened
Residents who are paying over 30% of their gross income on housing costs.
- Severe Cost Burden
Residents who are paying over 50% of their gross income on housing costs.
- Missing Middle Housing
Individuals or families who make 60-120% Area Median Income (AMI). These are individuals who are being priced out of the rental and homeownership market in Jefferson County.
Kelly Dunkin, President and CEO at Community First Foundation (CFF), then presented on CFF’s recent housing study. Among the study’s findings, Dunkin noted that 30% of Jefferson County residents are renters and that the average rent is 4% higher than the average nationally. In Jeffco, a household must make more than $42,084 a year for an apartment at the median rental rate to be attainable. The median home price in Jeffco is 50% higher than the national average. Find the full presentation at this link.
During the panel discussion, Dieter Raemdonck referenced national housing concerns from a recent PEW study. Across the country, the number of active housing listings in the U.S. was at its lowest in at least five years in January 2022. Around the same time, the national median sale price for a single-family home jumped 25% from $327,100 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $408,100 in the fourth quarter of 2021, the most recent data available. The greatest increases were in the West, Midwest and Northeast.
Ryan Stachelski noted a new housing committee that will start at the City of Arvada in early 2023. The long-term goal of the committee, made up of volunteers from the community, will establish projects and develop a trust to pull in grant money and buy properties or assistant programs for housing. Community members interested in serving on the committee should look for more information at the start of the new year.
Stachelski added that 87% of houses in Arvada were bought at 120% AMI or less, which equates to a current home value of $500,000. “The vast majority of Arvada residents: you are in affordable housing for you,” said Stachelski.
Senator Rachel Zenzinger spoke about recent policy solutions to address housing concerns in Colorado and Jefferson County. The state formed a housing taskforce and dedicated $568m to solutions for a statewide impact. Some of those tactics include a revolving housing loan fund in which money paid back is redistributed, investments in resident-owned communities and mobile home parks, an innovative housing incentive program to attract housing manufacturing to Colorado, and a Middle Income Access Program Expansion with CHFA. Senator Zenzinger also mentioned that organizations and communities are recognizing that housing is a problem and we’re coming together to solve it. “We’re sitting in one of those partnerships right now!” she noted, referencing the City of Arvada, BeyondHome and Revive church collaborating to help address housing.
The panel was also asked, “If you were gifted a magic wand and you have all the resources you need to solve housing…what would you do?”
Ryan Stachelski: “If I could wave a magic wand to help alleviate the housing crisis, I would wave my wand and make community members want and embrace a diversity of housing stock that is inclusive and affordable for all members of our community.”
Senator Rachel Zenzinger: “I would like to see an affordable housing system that:
- Is Affordable: Ensures that anyone can access housing for less than 30% of their household income.
- Revitalizes Housing Stock: Increases housing supply across all price points, especially workforce, transit-oriented, extremely low-income, and middle-income housing, and invests in the preservation of existing housing.
- Overcomes Disparities, Especially Systemic: Reconfigures housing to undo historic racism, for example redlining, low appraisal rates, subprime loans, and predatory practices, to ensure that marginalized people no longer suffer the most for affordable housing.
- Addresses Homelessness Quickly: Provides simple access to intentional, statewide resources to quickly and effectively get people experiencing homelessness housed and provide access to critical supportive services.
- Builds Wealth: Ensures anyone can access housing where they need it, and that they aren’t pushed out of current housing due to increasing property values or other market pressures, creating the opportunity to build intergenerational wealth.
- Is Sustainable: Ensures that housing development is balanced with the preservation of Colorado’s natural landscapes, and that new housing is constructed to be energy efficient or zero energy to reduce or eliminate utility expenses.
- Is Integrated with Other Systems: Create a system in which housing is integrated with funding and other systems to rapidly re-house people, and with behavioral health and other wraparound services to continue to support them once housed.
- Removes Obstacles: Does away with unnecessary regulatory barriers (e.g., parking requirements, occupancy limits, and exclusionary zoning) to both development of and access to affordable housing, especially near jobs or transit.”
Tyrone Adams: “Everyone would be financially literate and have the same opportunities to own a home and build wealth and treated equally so that we no longer need a Fair Housing Act. Erase the housing deficit in Colorado which is between 227,000 and 353,000 which would cover the population increases and more. From a development standpoint- develop enough entry level and senior downsizing housing. The last part of my broad stroke of my magic wand, I would have more new builds for condominiums which have been a part of the cycle for housing for years. Builders would have the right to remedy and arbitrate before a class action lawsuit can be filed. Allow many of the existing apartment’s development to convert to condominiums.”
Kelly Dunkin joined Community First Foundation as President and CEO in February 2019. Previously she worked for a variety of nonprofit, business and social impact organizations. These include 11 years at The Colorado Health Foundation in Denver, where she grew into the role of Vice President of Philanthropy, and 10.10.10, where she served as National Director. 10.10.10 is a project of Colorado Nonprofit Development Center and inspires entrepreneurs to solve 10 wicked social problems. Kelly also served as a consultant for businesses, nonprofits and social impact startups as well as projects in Lima, Peru, where she developed her Spanish-language skills. Kelly’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English from Miami University, an Elementary Education Licensure from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Tyrone Adams is the president/CEO of the Colorado Association of REALTORS®. He has served in a variety of roles in the Association industry for 29 years including the last seven in his current capacity. He considers himself a career association professional who has a passion for helping others be successful. As a life-long learner Tyrone earned and maintains three professional certifications- Realtor Certified Executive (RCE) and Certified Association Executive (CAE) and Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) graduate. He currently serves on multiple committees and boards including Senator Coleman’s Urban Housing and Development Council, Chair-elect of the Colorado Society of Association Executives (CSAE), as a mentor for Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute, on the Leadership Team for a national Governance PAG, is member on the Aurora Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Denver Chamber of Commerce Prosper Colorado workgroup; and participates on various other diverse coalitions around the state.
Dieter Raemdonck, Lobbyist, Recht Kornfeld PC: Dieter Raemdonck’s practice is focused primarily on government relations matters at the federal, state, and local levels. As a registered lobbyist, Dieter has invaluable expertise and experience communicating with state, county and municipal officials; state and federal legislators; executive branch employees; and state agencies and regulators. Dieter regularly assists clients with all aspects of the legislative process, including drafting legislation, building coalitions, developing strategies for advocacy and messaging, lobbying legislators, and ultimately achieving clients’ desired policy outcomes. His clients have a broad range of priorities, from general business issues to education, energy, real estate, and technology. He also advises and assists clients with political giving programs and campaign finance matters. In addition, Dieter’s practice also includes advocating client interests before regulatory bodies at the state and local levels. He often drafts proposed regulations, and represents clients before administrative boards and commissions. In 2020, 2021, and 2022, Dieter was recognized by the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch: Government Relations” list. This distinction is based on peer reviews and acknowledges outstanding professional excellence in private practice.
Rachel Zenzinger is the Colorado Senator from Arvada with a deep background in education and advocacy for public schools. She has worked as a Project Manager for Colorado Educator Voice Fellowship, a branch of Washington, D.C.-based America Achieves. She previously served as advisor to the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative program in the Colorado Department of Higher Education; and she worked for Regis University in the Master of Arts in Education department where she specialized in Teacher Leadership. Since moving to Arvada in 2002, she has served the community in a variety of capacities, including as twice-elected member of the Arvada City Council, where she also filled the role as Mayor Pro Tem. She left the City Council to accept an appointment to the State Senate, where she served in the 2014 session.
Ryan Stachelski serves as the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Arvada. This Department was newly formed in 2018 to help better align the development review process with all aspect of development, including: Building, Economic Development, Development Traffic and Civil Engineering, Land Administration, Planning, and Long Range Planning. Combining these disciplines into one “Work System” has allowed for a more streamlined process on behalf of both the community and developers. During this period, and under Ryan’s leadership, the City of Arvada has adopted a new Land Development Code which has significantly changed the development review process from a public hearing format to administrative. During the COVID- 19 pandemic, Ryan led the transformation of Historic Olde Town Arvada from an automobile accessible district to a pedestrian mall. Prior to this position Ryan served as the Executive Director of the Arvada Economic Development Association (AEDA) and Director of Arvada’s Economic Development Department. While in this role, Ryan supported over $100M in commercial capital investment per year and an annual increase in new sales tax revenue of $500K per year. Ryan has served in various roles in Community and Economic Development for two decades in the Denver Metro area, central Illinois, and in West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Ryan has a Master’s Degree in Community and Economic Development from Illinois State University. He is married to a Leukemia survivor and has two adopted children. In Ryan’s spare time he likes to play music, build furniture, and bake bread.
Upcoming Community Impact Forums:
- September 16: County Election Forum
- October 21: State Election Forum
- November 18: State of the Region (Mayors Round Table)
- December 16: State of Healthcare