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News: Metro Mortgage Plus Launches 

The Metro Mortgage Plus program, now available in Denver, Arvada, Brighton, Centennial, Dacono, Edgewater, Lakewood, Littleton, Sheridan and Wheat Ridge will soon expand to serve other Denver area cities and towns. The program provides a down-payment assistance grant and fixed-rate, 30-year FHA or VA loan to qualified homebuyers.

Cities that wish to participate need only to execute the participation and delegation agreement.

Lender information & common questions...

History of Metro Mayors Caucus Work on Affordable Housing

The Caucus began working on the issue of affordable housing in 1996 when it convened a technical subcommittee comprised of housing experts to identify barriers to the construction, finance and preservation of affordable housing in the region. In 1997, the Caucus convened the Regional Housing Alliance, a broad-based coalition of mayors, city technical staff, state government housing staff, developers, bankers and non-profits. The primary function of the Alliance was to develop action steps to implement the strategies identified by the technical subcommittee on affordable housing. In November 1997, the Alliance set forth a core set of implementation recommendations that became the Caucus’ 1998 work plan on affordable housing.

In 1998 the Caucus began implementing the recommendations of the Regional Housing Alliance. Among the products of that work was the Affordable Housing Source, a housing resource guide and “cookbook” of affordable housing strategies in the metro area that was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 1998 was also the first year of the Caucus's successful multi-year Single Family Mortgage Program. Caucus members pooled tax-exempt private activity bond cap to fund low interest mortgages and down payment assistance for low and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. Governor Romer recognized this Caucus program in 1998 with a Smart Growth and Development Award. Since 1998 the Caucus has provided more than $100 million in assistance to low and moderate income working families and individuals. Also in 1998, Caucus member cities reviewed their practices and regulations to identify areas where changes could encourage the development of affordable housing.

In 1999, in partnership with the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Forum, the City and County of Denver, the Center for Regional and Neighborhood Action and the HomeBuilders of Metropolitan Denver, the Caucus sponsored the Summit on Regional Cooperation. The Summit brought together leaders from metro area business, governments and non-profits to prioritize strategic responses to critical regional issues including workforce housing, new/redevelopment, open space and comprehensive plans.

In 2001, Mayor Joe Rice of Glendale and the Caucus staff developed a proposal to create a revolving loan fund for affordable housing with the excess revenues returned to member cities by the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District. Caucus members Arvada, Boulder, Denver, Englewood, Glendale and Lakewood are founding municipal investors in the Mile High Housing Fund, a revolving loan fund for the construction, preservation and rehabilitation of affordable housing. These cities’ investments were leveraged by more than $5 million invested by Key Bank, the Enterprise Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation and others.

In 2002 the Caucus was a co-sponsor of the Affordable Housing Opportunities Initiative (AHOI), which brought together more than 100 housing, finance, planning, architecture, foundation, business and neighborhood representatives for a site specific process of planning development of new affordable housing on four metro area sites. AHOI’s focused expert attention on creating affordable housing that minimizes the use of traditional subsidy and explores innovative design, finance and partnership strategies.

Housing and Transit

In 2003, the Caucus’ work on affordable housing and transportation were melded in a new initiative to stimulate the development of Transit Oriented Multi-family rental housing along the corridors in the FasTracks plan. Caucus efforts resulted in the creation of a $50 million partnership with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority which has matched member contributions to the pool and will act as issuer of the bonds that will finance transit oriented multi-family rental projects selected for funding.

Transit oriented developments, or "TODs," are developments located within a 1500 foot radius of a rail or rapid bus station that encourage transit use, walking or cycling, while providing a mix of retail, commercial and residential uses. In November 2004, voters in the Denver region approved the Regional Transportation District's $4.7 billion dollar FasTracks plan to expand the region's rapid transit system. Approximately 51 of the 57 stops and stations included in the FasTracks plan have the potential for TOD. Immediate opportunities for TOD exist along the current Southwest line from Littleton through Denver and along the Southeast line from Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County to Downtown Denver, which will be completed in 2006.

Through the Metro Mayors Caucus and in partnership with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), the cities of Arvada, Centennial, Denver, Lakewood, Littleton, Northglenn and Westminster have pooled their Private Activity Bonding (PAB) authority to provide an incentive to include affordable rental housing within Denver area transit oriented development projects.

The Financing Source
The Internal Revenue Code permits the issuance of tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds to finance the new construction of, or acquisition and rehabilitation of, multifamily rental housing projects. As one of the requirements under this authority, projects financed with PAB must offer a minimum number of units with rents affordable to those earning at or below certain income levels. The advantages in using this debt resource include both lower debt financing costs as well as access to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) for generating project equity. The LIHTC program presents the opportunity to couple PAB debt financing with non-competitive federal tax credits. These tax credits offer the project owner the basis to raise project equity by creating a vehicle in which investors receive federal income tax credits in return for cash equity capital contributions. Many of the requirements of the PAB program and the LIHTC program have been incorporated into the minimum eligibility criteria listed in the application.

All projects meeting the minimum criteria will receive a two part review, including project evaluation by a team of professionals from the fields of real estate, development, finance, city planning and transportation planning. The project evaluation will determine if a project is transit oriented and assess community support for the project. Final funding decisions are made by a majority vote of the contributing cities' representatives.

The application process is designed to be fast and flexible and commitments from the pool may be granted for a period of up to 21 months. A brochure describing the program is available here.

For more information please contact

Metro Mayors Caucus
Catherine Marinelli

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority 

Posted on: March 20, 2013

Metro Mortgage Plus Now Available

The Metro Mortgage Plus program, now available in Denver and Littleton, will soon expand to serve other Denver area cities and towns. The program provides a down-payment assistance grant and fixed-rate, 30-year FHA or VA loan to qualified homebuyers.

Lender information & common questions...