Expanding Workforce Housing in Colorado through Program Design and Stakeholder Engagement

Published on
April 8, 2024

Colorado currently faces an affordable housing crisis, especially for middle-income Coloradans, whose needs are not currently met by existing affordable housing efforts or market-rate housing options.

The field of middle-income workforce housing is relatively new and emerging throughout the country. Existing interventions utilizing property tax exemptions, financing (in the form of grants and loans), and tax credits have seen varying degrees of success.

Enter Colorado Middle Income Housing Authority (MIHA), a special purpose authority created to increase the supply of middle-income housing in Colorado. MIHA utilizes an innovative and experimental approach to middle-income housing, leveraging public-private investment to incentivize the creation of housing that the authority will ultimately own. MIHA partnered with Common Group as the grant administrator to design, implement, and manage an innovative pilot solicitation program. 

Engagement of diverse stakeholders leads to an informed and equitable selection process

Multiple stakeholders, including the MIHA board, the Colorado developer community, underwriters, and senior Colorado state employees, were engaged to provide input throughout the application and review process. Common Group integrated feedback from multiple stakeholders in the design of the application process. The team also designed evaluation processes that leveraged reviews of all stakeholder groups according to their specific expertise. Throughout the process, Common Group achieved alignment on the strength of the design, application, and review processes.

Innovative program strategy and design results in the selection of 6 exciting winning projects

Eager to solicit innovative proposals and meet a tight legislative timeline, MIHA set out to launch an application to launch and generate learnings from the field as quickly as possible. Common Group supported the development and launch of a two-stage technology-enabled application, a comprehensive communications strategy, thorough and equitable review processes, and guiding materials for prospective applicants. Throughout the engagement, Common Group was a trusted partner who provided feedback on the impact of various decisions based on its expertise in launching solicitations. 

In the end, under Common Group’s leadership, MIHA selected 6 innovative housing projects that are projected to create 993 affordable workforce housing units throughout the state of Colorado. 

To learn more, visit the MIHA website.