Affordable Housing: Building Opportunity into Colorado Communities


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

The Alliance Center, Denver

APA Colorado is joining with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Alumni to present a panel discussion on affordable housing. During this panel session, planners will learn about the affordable housing crisis in fast-growth U.S. metro areas, possible trends in future housing demand, the dimensions of the crisis in Colorado and the Denver metro area, and actions planners can take to respond to the crisis and prepare for future demand. 

Learning Objectives:

1. The scope of the national affordable housing crisis
2. Dimensions of the crisis in the Denver metropolitan area
3. Actions local planners can take to preserve and increase affordability and access to opportunity


  • Rolf Pendall, Ph.D.: Rolf Pendall, Ph.D., is Professor and Head of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has over 30 years’ experience as a practitioner, scholar, and educator on a broad array of urban growth and development issues, including land-use planning and regulation; federal, state, and local affordable housing policy and programs; metropolitan growth patterns; and racial residential segregation and the concentration of poverty.
  • Jennifer Newcomer is the Director of Shift Research Lab, which is a program of The Piton Foundation. She leads Shift’s efforts to transform data into actionable information that improves the social sector’s ability to serve Colorado’s low-income communities. Her research focuses on social and built environment related issues, particularly household and neighborhood lifecycles and the forces impacting family economic wellbeing. 
  • Britta Fisher was appointed as Chief Housing Officer for the City & County of Denver by Mayor Michael B. Hancock in June 2018. Fisher has been involved in affordable housing in the Denver area since 2000, serving primarily in the non-profit sector. Fisher most recently served as the Executive Director of mpowered, an organization providing financial coaching and transformation.

The panel will include three presentations of 15 to 20 minutes each. The first presentation (Rolf Pendall) will describe the demographic, housing-market, and economic trends that have led to the national affordability crisis. He will also highlight the recently approved, but currently stalled, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule as a vehicle for responding and anticipating to affordable housing demand. Newcomer’s presentation, second, will show that affordability challenges are not driven by one factor, and therefore cannot be solved by one solution. It will explain that because housing is a market, market-based solutions will need to be employed in order to scale (a diverse) supply to consumers. Finally, she will show that municipalities play a critical role. By offering streamlined regulatory entitlement processes, particularly for innovative housing solutions that foster community, not only has the potential to bring down the cost to the consumer, but enhance municipal fiscal coffers. Britta Fisher, finally, will describe new and innovative strategies in Denver’s five-year affordable housing plan, Housing an Inclusive Denver. She will report on what’s working, what has been learned, and the impact of Denver’s policies.



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