All In Denver is a nonprofit advocacy organization that believes an equitable city is where all people have the opportunity to prosper and thrive. Formed in 2016 by a group of housing, planning, education and arts practitioners, the organization has made an impact by working hand in hand with community activists, city staff and elected officials to advance sensible, inclusive policies for Denver in the areas of affordable housing, the do-it-yourself arts community and citywide land use planning.
The 230-plus members and governing board of All In Denver comprise a wide range of Denver citizens representing a diversity of backgrounds and beliefs – many of whom have never been involved in civic affairs – yet all of whom share a common concern: that Denver’s current and future growth must be managed in ways that benefit everyone in every community. The organization maintains several issue-oriented committees – including housing, transportation and education – and has developed ongoing relationships with members of the Denver City Council and administration of Mayor Michael Hancock.
Key accomplishments over the first two years of All In Denver include:
• Commissioned two independent housing polls of Denver voters, testing attitudes toward a variety affordable housing initiatives. These polls, funded by local foundations, found that affordable housing and homelessness are top concerns of Denver voters. Of the respondents, 96 percent found homelessness and 94 percent found housing affordability to be serious civic problems. Two-thirds of respondents would be more inclined to support local politicians who put affordable housing as a top priority. (More details of the results below.)
• Advanced an affordable housing proposal by drafting position papers, meeting with City Council members, convening educational forums and building alliances with a variety of private and nonprofit housing developers, which led to a recent announcement by the city that funding will be doubled using marijuana taxes and general fund monies. The new surge in housing funding includes a 2 percent annual increase in the tax on marijuana that generates more than $8 million annually. This increase allows an existing property tax to be bonded, creating a $105 million fund to be administered by the Denver Housing Authority to build, preserve and acquire land for affordable housing units.
• Worked with city staff and DIY artists to revise the Safe Occupancy Program and secure funding for its implementation. The Safe Occupancy Program offers building code relief to property owners who accommodate artist residences and studios and is the first initiative of its kind in the nation.
• Advocated for a new approach to Blueprint Denver, Denver’s overall land use and transportation plan, including a revised construct beyond Areas of Change and Stability. The draft Blueprint Denver framework offers a more tailored approach of “complete neighborhoods” throughout the city.
All In Denver will continue to focus on advancing a variety of social equity issues in the city of Denver and expand programming and involvement opportunities for its members. For more information (and to become a member – annual dues start as low as $5), visit www.allindenver.org.