CDOT Awards $2M Grant to GES Affordable Housing Collaborative for Mitigation from
I-70 Expansion in Elyria-Swansea
Following a competitive grant process, the GES Affordable Housing Collaborative — a partnering of community members from GES Coalition, nonprofit Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. and the Colorado Community Land Trust — has received a $2 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation for mitigation of replacement housing following the expansion of Interstate 70 through the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.
JULY 30, 2018. In Denver and nationwide, involuntary displacement jeopardizes the health and well-being of historically “redlined” communities, historic and present day sites of systemic racial and economic discrimination. Following decades of divestment and exclusion from The City of Denver's public and private spending, rental and housing costs now skyrocket across Globeville and Elyria-Swansea. The City of Denver’s recent cataclysmic public and private investments in I-70 and National Western Center have exploded the speculative real estate market across the surrounding neighborhoods, putting the majority of the community at risk of involuntary displacement.
Under the ongoing threat of being displaced, families of Globeville Elyria-Swansea, working collectively as GES Coalition, have organized over the last 3 years to identify the most appropriate solutions to address the unique crises facing the community.
With goals to prevent displacement of neighbors and to preserve affordable neighborhood housing in perpetuity, community members from GES Coalition have developed and formalized relationships with Brothers Redevelopment and Colorado Community Land Trust during the last 18 months. Community members from GES Coalition have selected these two organizations to form a collaborative partnership, not only because of their experience and expertise, but also because of their strong commitment to community values.
Through this partnership with the community, GES Community Land Trust and GES Affordable Housing Collaborative were formed to provide long-term community ownership and oversight through co-stewardship of community assets.
Fifty six homes in the neighborhood have been demolished for the upcoming I-70 expansion. According to “Elyria and Swansea Housing Replacement and Viability Study”, a report prepared by Community Strategies Institute for the City of Denver in 2015, “The cost to replace the 56 housing units alone is estimated at almost $14,500,000. This study informed CDOT to voluntarily create housing mitigation as part of a commitment to the community, and this grant fulfills the commitment.
The GES Affordable Housing Collaborative will leverage the $2 million grant from CDOT with multiple funding sources to maximize permanent affordability of neighborhood homes, including $300,000 set aside for home rehabilitation. The GES Community Land Trust was started with a vision to serve families and individuals who have recently experienced displacement from the neighborhood, and those currently most vulnerable to involuntary displacement.