Dana Crawford loves Denver neighborhoods. Her journey began in the 1960s when she began an initiative to save a historic area, which we now know as Larimer Square, from demolition by the city. Her work in revitalizing and renewing a city by preserving its history and buildin
g upon what is already there has continued. In the 1980s she renovated the Oxford Hotel, and introduced Denver to New York City’s loft lifestyle, opening the first lofts in Edbrooke Building in 1990. Crawford’s continued partnership and development include 16th Street Mall, Skyline Park, Coors Field, the Auraria Campus and recently re-opened Union Station.
Crawford’s love for the city and the neighborhoods within are evidenced by her long history of developing Denver, and her work is far from over.
Susan Powers is another woman who has long been involved in urban development. Powers formed Urban Ventures, LLC in 1988, and still serves as president of the real estate development company. Her focus with Urban Ventures is on urban development, including student housing, affordable housing and historic renovations. A few of Powers’ projects have included the development of RhiNo and the Highlands, and bringing student housing to the Auraria campus that served students from all three schools.
Powers has a strong passion for the health and wellness of the residents in the neighborhoods and areas of Denver she develops.
With such common interest and passion, Powers and Crawford are longtime friends. Concern over the lack of affordable housing in Denver has been a continued conversation for them.
“Susan and I kept running into each other and we found we kept worrying about the lack of affordable housing,” Crawford said.
As first reported by the Denver Real Estate Watch, Dana Crawford and Susan Powers, president of Urban Ventures, have teamed up to create a new organization, Mothers Advocating for Affordable Housing (MAAH), centered on addressing Denver’s affordable housing crisis.
“There are way too many working people and lower-income people, or people without jobs that are homeless or are living in substandard housing,” Crawford said.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock has made affordable housing a priority for his second term, creating a $10 million Affordable Housing Revolving Loan Fund.
In addition to this, $8 million have been allotted to add to the fund as part of the 2016 budget. Hancock is proposing an annual $15 million or more to be added to the fund each year, starting in 2017.
“This fund will provide a financial boost to development projects, helping Denver deliver greater access to safe, decent, affordable housing in Denver,” Mayor Hancock said at Bridging the Gap, a forum hosted among Denver’s top housing leaders to discuss and inspire change around the need for affordable housing in metro areas.
“Financing of affordable housing units is a challenging landscape for nonprofit and private developers, and these funds will work with the many other funding tools necessary to increase the city’s inventory of affordable housing and keep Denver a city for all.”
Powers and Crawford are in favor of this fund. When the funds are already available to meet affordable housing needs, the road to progress is just a little bit smoother.
“It would be great to have a consistent funding source for affordable housing, so you didn’t have to go back to council every year to find ways to come up with the dollars,” Powers said.
MAAH is yet a new organization, and Crawford and Powers are excited about the opportunities it holds.
Crawford said she imagines MAAH growing to several thousand in the next few years, and “doing whatever it takes” to advocate for affordable housing.