By Sarah Harvey, Editor
A friend of mine still pays $450 for a studio in Baker. She knows that isn’t going to last, though. Her building’s new owner has recently begun renovating, a telltale sign that rent is about to increase. My friend and her boyfriend know they won’t be able to afford anything in their neighborhood, so they’re starting to look at places on the outskirts of town: neighborhoods like Globeville and Elyria-Swansea.
Stories like my friend’s are pretty common in Denver these days. When I moved to Capitol Hill eight years ago, it was possible to rent a studio apartment there for less than $400. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find even a studio for less than $800 in the neighborhood.
The cost of renting in Denver has been making news lately—and some of it might actually be good news. Vacancies are up and rental rates in Denver may be showing signs of leveling off. Although this is good news for renters in Metro Denver, it doesn’t change the fact that the city is not as affordable as it used to be.
We have an infographic on page 7 detailing some statistics about wages and renting in Denver and in Colorado. Some of the numbers concerning the cost burdens associated with rent in Denver are staggering.
Of course, affordable housing shortages are not unique to Denver. Our international photo feature this month spotlights Cairo’s City of the Dead—a neighborhood inside one of the city’s cemeteries. Some families have lived alongside the tombs for generations, and many residents are quite content there among their peaceful neighbors.
While Denver renters don’t need to worry about staking out claims at Riverside Cemetery yet, one thing remains clear: it’s time for our city to start coming up with solutions for its affordable housing shortage. ■
Correction: In “A Step in the Write Direction,” published in our February issue, we mistakenly referred to Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community as a rehabilitation center. Fort Lyon is transitional housing for the chronically homeless—though many residents do have substance abuse issues. Additionally, last year Fort Lyon lost 40 percent of its case managers and educational staff, not 40 percent of its budget. We regret the error.