Student Fellowship

Quantifying Financial Barriers to Housing Development

Project Area:

Affordable Housing & Community Development


Fort Collins, CO

Reporting to:

Deputy Director, Planning, Development, and Transportation

The Challenge

Fort Collins is experiencing a significant housing supply shortage, as well as rapidly increasing median costs for housing, while income remains stagnant. Lower income residents and historically marginalized communities are affected disproportionately by rising housing costs. Increasing the city’s housing stock, particularly the availability of housing options for residents making up to 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI), is consistently identified by the community, elected officials, and city leadership as a top priority. The cost of building housing is prohibitive and is likely to continue to rise. The city is interested in tackling this challenge using a holistic approach that is integrated with the recently updated Housing Strategic Plan, which will be implemented this summer and start with community meetings this spring. This summer is an opportune time to help the city deepen its understanding of housing costs, identify innovative solutions to mitigate these costs, and engage with key members of the community to understand barriers to improving housing affordability in Fort Collins.

What You’ll Do

The fellow will be expected to:

  1. Research relevant components that contribute to the stated challenge, including:
    •  Components of housing costs for subsidized and unsubsidized housing developments, as well as the drivers and dynamics of these costs;
    •  Evaluation of best practices, emerging ideas, and technology and innovation solutions to mitigate these rising costs.
  2. Conduct necessary outreach to answer the project’s key questions, which may include:
    •  Engagement, collaboration, and interviews with developers, financial institutions, builders, utility providers, city staff, and others to understand barriers and cost inputs to missing middle housing.
  3. Develop summary documents and policy recommendations to guide the implementation of the city’s Housing Strategic Plan, which may include:
    •  Summary of housing cost components generally and specific to Northern Colorado;
    •  Comparative analysis of cost components to identify where strategies may be most effective or necessary;
    •  Equity-focused analysis of potential policies, initiatives, programs, and partnerships prioritized based on effectiveness and local conditions.

What You’ll Bring

  • Experience or knowledge of urban planning and land development
  • Data analysis skills
  • Policy analysis skills
  • Experience working directly with people from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • An understanding of the concepts of institutional racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities
  • Comfort with cross-sector collaboration
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