News Briefs: Since the recession...

Published August 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 7

Homelessness in Colorado is on the rise. According to an annual homeless assessment report released last month by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 14,747 Coloradans were homeless in 2008, 3.7 percent more than the number of homeless in 2007. BJ Iacino, spokeswoman for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, expects to see a much more dramatic increase when HUD’s 2009 study is published. Since the 2008 study was conducted, the CCH has seen an increase of over 20 percent in the number of newly homeless families seeking assistance. While nationally the number of homeless families seeking shelter increased by 9 percent, the number of homeless families seeking shelter in rural and suburban communities increased by almost 56 percent. Colorado not only has one of the highest concentrations of homeless people in the nation (.3 percent of its population), it is also one of only eight states where the number of unsheltered homeless was greater than the number of sheltered homeless.

—Sarah Harvey

News Briefs: Another Kind of Credit Crisis

Published July 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 6

The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority saw another increase in the demand for tax credits this year. CHFA has a total of $11.1 million in tax credits to disperse among developers for low-income housing projects. During the first round alone, developers submitted 21 applications requesting $19.7 million.

Congress created the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program in 1986. Its purpose is to encourage the construction and rehabilitation of low-income rental housing by providing a federal income tax credit as an incentive. Developers sell these tax credits to investors. When determining which applicants receive tax credits, CHFA gives preference to projects serving those with the lowest income and projects obligated to serve qualified tenants for the longest period of time.

Over the past three years, the tax credit market has seen a dramatic drop in prices. Due to the recession, fewer investors have federal tax liabilities they need to offset with tax credits. This causes the price of tax credits to drop, making it more difficult for developers to sell tax credits to investors. As pricing drops, more developers are seeking larger credits to make their projects work. Tax credit investments are an integral part of financing for many housing developments for the homeless under Denver’s Road Home.

Tax credits are currently getting between 65 and 72 cents on the dollar, compared to 80 to 90 cents on the dollar two years ago and between 90 cents and $1.00 per credit in fall of 2006.

—Sarah Harvey

Feature: Navigating the Recession - Cuts to education and human services possible in Colorado

Published February 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 1

by Hank Lacey

The nation’s economy is sinking deeper into the worst recession in decades.  More and more Coloradans are suffering stagnant wages, loss of health insurance, unemployment and even the loss of their home.

Driven by deteriorating economic conditions, the Office of Legislative Council says Colorado is facing a budget shortfall of more than $600 million this year and about $300 million for the 2009 fiscal year, which starts July 1.  The consequences are likely to be big cuts to many government services that people all over the state, but especially in the Denver urban area, take for granted.

The state has been down this road before.  Between 2001 and 2003 Colorado faced budget shortfalls that eventually reached about $850 million in FY 2003 and about $900 million in FY 2004. The General Assembly balanced the budget, as the state constitution compels it to do, by imposing across-the-board cuts to state agencies and by using a variety of accounting measures to move expenditures into future years.

This time a solution might not be found so easily. Gov. Bill Ritter said as much during his annual State of the State speech on January 8.

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