Oct 5, 2016


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MHC Updates

by | Oct 5, 2016

Affordable Housing & Community Facilities

Know an Organization or Business in Need of Space?
According to the 2015 Nonprofit Space Survey Final Report, published in June, many nonprofit and for-profit community-benefiting organizations and small businesses in the Denver metro area successfully negotiated lease rates during the recession that will soon end. Surveyed nonprofit respondents reported currently paying on average $11.57 per square foot, while market rates in Metro Denver were $21.45 per square foot for Class B space as of the close of Q2 2016. MHC is launching a Tenant Pipeline with our partner, Denver Shared Spaces, to strategically connect community-oriented businesses, social enterprises and nonprofits with affordable commercial space, thinking ahead to future needs and availability. This is the first program of its kind to systematically support the space needs of organizations and small businesses that are so important to our community. Do you know of an organization who could benefit from participating in this program? Please contact Megan Yonke at myonke@denversharedspaces.org.

Dedicated Revenue Fund for Affordable Housing Established
On September 19, MHC and many of our partners celebrated a historic moment in Denver history! After more than 18 months of discussions, debates, analysis, and stakeholder gatherings, the Denver City Council voted 9-4 in favor of passing Council Bill 16-0625 – a bill that creates a dedicated revenue fund to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Denver. The Fund, capitalized with a combination of property taxes and impact fees on new real estate development, will generate approximately $150 million over the next ten years and is expected to create and preserve at least 6,000 affordable homes for low income residents of Denver.

Business, Local Workforce, and Middle Skilled Jobs

Learning Cohort for Anchor Institutions
The work of MHC and The Denver Foundation around engaging major institutions in creating community benefit continues to grow. In 2017, we will convene a year-long group for local anchor institutions committed to engaging the communities in which they hold deep roots. These anchors – universities, hospitals, governments and other institutions with long-rooted investments – recognize the wealth of potential they hold and are eager to learn from each other about how to connect with their communities. The learning cohort will focus not only why anchor are vital institutions but how they can engage in anchor institution work. We’ll explore how to effectively support local businesses through contracting, training opportunities that support local hire programs, and opportunities to maximize local investment through community development. Anchors will walk away with an understanding of what it takes to build a solid anchor mission framework.

First & Last Mile Connections

Invest Health Convening
Five-person teams from 50 mid-sized American cities gathered in Denver September 28-30 at the Invest Health Second National Convening. Invest Health grants are awarded by the Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help municipalities and their partners design and implement projects that enhance health and equity through infrastructure investments. As a member of the Westminster team (which includes the City of Westminster, Adams County, Tri-County Health Department and Regis University), MHC worked closely with the funders’ staff in the months prior to the convening to design the program. MHC partners Felicia Griffin (FRESC), Neha Mahajan (9 To 5) and Lizeth Chacon (Colorado People’s Alliance) were featured on a panel to discuss effective strategies for community engagement and participation. Executive Director Dace West provided a practical perspective to presentations about developing collaborative frameworks and financing strategies that highlighted the work of the organization in the Denver region. DRCOG staff offered demonstrations of the on-line Regional Equity Atlas and Development Project Pipeline (under development as part of the Capital Absorption Project) created in collaboration with MHC.

Recent articles


To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.


Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.