East Colfax Neighborhood Association
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7935 East 14th Ave.

Denver, Colorado 80220

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Anti-Displacement Plan

East Colfax Neighborhood Anti-Displacement Plan

 

As of mid-2019, the East Colfax neighborhood registered close to 30% of its c.11,500 residents living at or below the poverty line, with upwards of 60% listed as "vulnerable to involuntary displacement." We know this means that many of our residents are in urgent need of basics such as food, shelter or lower housing costs, and clothing and other basic items, and the clear majority of our residents will simply not be able to stay in their homes if prices increase.

 

Our neighborhood must combat the forces of displacement whenever and wherever they occur. ECNA is committed to acknowledging the long history of displacement and profoundly misguided notions of ownership within which we circulate. To that end the following guidelines are being set forth. (Please note: this is a preliminary list and is currently being edited.)

 

East Colfax Resident Rights

 

  • Stable, safe, affordable, and quality housing options.

  • Safe, walkable neighborhood with reliable transportation.

  • Access to affordable, quality childcare.

  • After school and summer opportunities for youth.

  • Access to healthy, culturally relevant foods

  • Employment opportunities for youth and adults.

 

East Colfax Neighborhood Prioritizes: 

 

  • Gender and racial equity

  • Safe workplaces

  • Disability inclusion

  • Employing underserved communities

 

New Development Guidelines

 

  • Refuse any investment that is keyed to the federal “Opportunity Zone” (in particular, double digit returns).

  • A moratorium on any and all chain stores.

  • Land Use Rules: restrict the physical size of new stores.

  • New retail development only if it meets specific criteria defined by the community.

  • Banned uniformity, prohibiting ”formula” businesses.

  • All new businesses will pay employees a living wage at a minimum, with robust employee benefits.

  • All new businesses will prioritize local hires. 

  • Before the Site Development Plan is approved, commit to align with the existing Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and share information to the cumulative HIA starting to be conducted. The HIA includes the following areas of focus:

    • Assessment and mitigation of noise, air quality, soil quality, and odors

    • Sharing any environmental studies, such as the Phase II Environmental Assessment, done with community as requested and with the Cumulative Health Study

    • Assessment and mitigation of odors before residents move in, possible contribution/advocacy to mitigate marijuana grow odors

    • No permanent uses that would contribute to poorer air quality, construction equipment mitigations to improve air quality—follow best management practices during construction

  • At least 50% of businesses must be women and minority owned.

  • Financing and investments of economic development initiatives must incorporate job training and local workforce development components that create living wage jobs and career pathways that benefit low- and moderate-income people, people of color, and their neighborhoods.

  • Community-led assessment done of any “community assets” on the site and their use, including open space (see below), with the ability for community to influence those assets

 Commitment to Affordable Housing and Resident Rights

 

  • ECNA requires a plan in the East Colfax neighborhood for at least 2,500 Units of 30% AMI or below. 

  • The development of a Neighborhood Preference Program to make sure that existing and interested East Colfax residents have first opportunity to apply for affordable rental units.

  • Landlord borrowers commit to complying with state and local tenant protections.

  • Make a commitment to significantly reduce or eliminate application fees and security deposits for current residents of East Colfax.

  • Invest in Affordable Rental Housing. Preserve and create affordable rental housing that keeps families housed.

  • No financing for serial evictors.

  • Promote Homeownership. Lend and invest in local homeowners who can build wealth and remain a part of the community.

  • Banks and private capital should not finance investor purchases of single-family homes which crowd out first-time homebuyers or result in displacement of existing tenants.

  • Offer flexible mortgage loan products for first-time homebuyers, borrowers of color, and low- and moderate-income residents to purchase and maintain their homes.

  • Develop low-rate loan products to help nonprofit developers, community land trusts and other organizations to purchase multi-family buildings at risk of flipping or with expiring affordability contracts, single family REOs, and other housing units that can provide affordable housing options.

  • Make significant investments so affordable housing groups can acquire, develop and rehabilitate properties, including through non-traditional models, such as cooperatives.

  • Donate or offer Bank Real Estate Owned properties at a discount to nonprofits or local governments so that units can be maintained as affordable housing.

  • Develop and offer low-rate loan products that will enable small, private, local multi-family landlords and/or landlords accepting Section 8 vouchers to fix and maintain their properties, where they have committed not to displace tenants or to raise rents.

  • Underwrite to current rents and local rent control laws.

  • Withhold consent for unreasonable termination of tenancies. Require assignment of rents and lender consent before the landlord borrower can impair rents by taking rentals off the market.

  • Enforce borrower obligations: take strong and swift action against serial evictors and other displacing entities to correct issues when landlord borrowers displace residents and businesses in violation of loan documents and this Anti-Displacement Code of Conduct.

  • A Neighborhood Affirmative Marketing Plan for all affordable units to be initiated 135 days before units become available, allowing neighbors 45 days to apply for units before units are advertised city-wide & online.

  • Seek input from tenants and advocacy groups regarding harassment, illegal evictions, unreasonable rent increases, and habitability concerns on the property.

  • Show mechanism in place to maintain affordability of units in perpetuity.

  • Decision review on selection and evaluation of property management, rental application process, public subsidies and loans.

  • Community legal defense fund. For prevention of eviction and foreclosure, pre-eviction and lease termination, for East Colfax residents on verge of displacement.

 

Community Investment

 

  • Affordable commercial space for local business - maintain 20% of commercial spaces for reduced cost for local businesses/efforts. Local business preference encourages and supports local vendors, something good for both the community and the economy overall.

  • Provide neighborhood businesses first right to lease affordable space. If none are interested or timeline does not align, promote available retail space to locally-owned small businesses in metro Denver. Work with the Center for Community Wealth Building to help notify local businesses.

  • Preference to local businesses facing displacement pressures by committing to: no-compete clause for existing local businesses; bringing in no chain businesses; offering available retail space first to existing local businesses.

  • Offer micro enterprise loans and loan products under $100,000 for small businesses, and offer financing to help them purchase property so they can remain in the community and build assets.

  • Provide philanthropic support so small businesses can negotiate leases to avoid eviction.

  • East Colfax seeks to be the most conducive place in Denver for small and low-income businesses to operate.

  • Reinvest to develop healthy communities, not gentrify them. Banks and private capital should reinvest in gentrifying neighborhoods only through an anti-displacement lens, targeting loans and investments to local residents and businesses so they can remain in their communities, build wealth, and thrive.

  • Engage in Anti-Displacement Philanthropy. Support an anti-displacement infrastructure to provide assistance to community residents, business, and institutions.

  • Provide philanthropic support for groups fighting displacement, such as legal services, tenant advocates, affordable and fair housing initiatives, and policy organizations.

  • Participating banks and private capital should not finance displacement mortgages to building owners whose business model and financing are reliant on eviction of existing residents and businesses.

  • Support Local Government Efforts. Finance local government efforts to fight displacement, create affordable housing, support local small businesses, and respond to homelessness.

  • Provide financing for non-traditional business models, such as worker cooperatives.

  • Refrain from seeking Community Reinvestment Act credit for loans and investments that lead to displacement.

  • A plan to attract businesses/services that address neighborhood health action points for mitigating impact/stress of construction

  • Finance Small Businesses. Help small businesses remain in the community to serve their customers and neighborhoods.

  • Support education, credit repair, and down payment assistance programs.

  • Provide funding for technical assistance, case management, and other support to businesses at risk of displacement.

  • Prioritize office space for non-profits that provide services to neighborhood residents and surrounding communities.

  • Reinvestment: anyone who makes money donates back to various positive programs, starting with current businesses.

  • Special discounts for East Colfax residents.

 

 Open/Green Space Guidelines

 

  • Land used just as a stormwater facility with no park use should not be counted as open space

  • “Publicly accessible open space” should have consultation with community as far as any play equipment, community uses, and design/accessibility

  • Keep and add trees to the property (per tree protection ordinance but also adding on to this commitment), minimal destruction of existing trees, addition of more trees and plants to area that mitigate air quality

  • Inclusion of uses for middle and high school children (given proximity to 2 middle and High Schools) created with participation from those youth

  • Active recreation uses in line with what is needed in the neighborhood, according to neighbors

 

Transportation Guidelines

 

  • Before the Site Development Plan is approved, commit to and complete a study of the impact of Traffic and Construction, that is shared directly with community and community groups, and includes the following areas of study:

  • Expand the area of the existing traffic study to look at overall impact to East Colfax neighbors, including:

    • Impact on increased traffic from existing development

    • Impact on increased transportation time to work and school

    • Impact on neighborhood exit and entry points

    • Impact on access to public transportation and pedestrian routes

    • Impact on neighborhood access to local business

  • Action points for mitigating impact/ stress of traffic

  • Get a baseline measurement of noise impact from train to potential residents from distance where housing is projected and proper mitigations/site planning in place to address the noise

 

Community Participation and Protections

 

  • Commit to meaningful and ongoing community participation.

  • Community oversight and transparency.

  • Work with the East Colfax Community to identify services and retail that they are interested in that have intentional services to support the health of local residents.