The following breaks the plan down into sections for easier download. The full plan may also be downloaded below.
- Cover page, table of contents, and letter from the mayor
- Executive summary (pages 1-2)
- Colorado Springs in 2020 (pages 3-22)
- Plan Objectives (pages 23-42)
- Housing our future needs chart (pages 42-46)
- Conclusion (pages 47-50)
- Housing Survey (pages 51-137)
- Housing individuals experiencing homelessness
- Increase the supply of affordable rentals
- Increase home ownership opportunities
- Housing for the aging and disabled population
- Innovative design and development solutions
- Alternative finance tools
These days, Colorado Springs is THE place to be. Within the last five years, the City ranked in the top ten for more than two dozen urban quality of life measurements. The accolades include ‘#4 Small Business-Friendly City,’1 one of ‘The Best Bike Cities in America’,2 ‘Number One Large City for Veterans to Call Home’,3 and #3 on the U.S. News & World Report: ‘Best Places to Live.’4 Between 2015 and 2018, more than 16,000 new residents moved into the region. When combined with a natural increase in the local population, the overall growth rate is approaching 2% annually, making this area one of the fastest growing regions in the Mountain West.
Across the City, affordable housing continues to be a recurrent topic of public debate. Respondents to a recent housing survey conducted by the City’s Community Development Division expressed a wide range of opinions and expectations related to housing. Individuals and families struggling to exit homelessness are looking for specialized rental units that include onsite mental and physical health services. Low-income seniors want housing that includes age-in-place design features, inviting ground floor spaces, and a connection to the outdoors. Working families are frustrated by a lack of larger apartments located near employment, schools, shopping centers, transit, and low-cost child-care. Renters are seeking lower-priced opportunities for homeownership and homeowners looking to downsize are looking for more lifestyle- and age-appropriate housing choices.
Addressing the region’s housing affordability challenges is a priority of Mayor John Suthers. In his 2018 State of the City address, Mayor Suthers established “…a community goal to build, preserve and create opportunities to purchase an average of 1,000 affordable units per year over the next five years.”5 Since 2016, efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing in the region have produced on average 300-500 units per year. Increasing production means expanding key housing programs that make possible new construction of multi-family rental housing, increased opportunities for homeownership, and the creation of more permanent supportive housing units for individuals and families struggling to exit homelessness.
HomeCOS, Housing Our Future, is the blueprint for reaching the goal. HomeCOS is a comprehensive affordable and attainable housingAttainable housing means decent, attractive, safe, and sanitary accommodation that is affordable for the full spectrum of the city's residents. While a cost of no more than 30% of gross household income is a good rule of thumb for affordability, there will be some circumstances where higher or lower thresholds may be more applicable. plan that combines current analysis of the local housing and job markets with insights gathered from local residents and key stakeholders in the non-profit and for-profit development communities. Specific strategies included in HomeCOS provide a variety of means for public and private stakeholders to bring expertise and commitment to a collaborative process for meeting the Mayor’s housing goals. HomeCOS is also an essential guide for developers seeking to understand local housing needs, respond with appropriate projects, and access the regulatory and finance tools needed to make those projects a reality.
Increasing the supply of attainable housing is important as well. In the context of HomeCOS, affordable housing is defined as housing that does not require more than 30% of household income to secure and is subject to affordability restrictions in the form of long-term rent limits or, in the case of for-sale housing, re-sale to a subsequent low- to moderate-income household. Attainable housing, by contrast, may be priced to meet the needs of lower-income households in the region but is not typically subject to long-term rent restrictions or re-sale provisions. Both are essential to meeting the region’s current and projected housing needs.
Colorado Springs is expected to become the largest metropolitan area in the state within the next 30 years. PlanCOS, the City’s 2019 comprehensive planA comprehensive plan is a guiding document that provides a framework for city policies and priorities regarding the physical development of the city. It is a long-range vision of what we want our city to become and is a tool for making decisions about how that vision should be achieved. It outlines strategic steps to make the vision a reality and provides targeted and strategic planning of the physical development of the city. update, laid out a vision of a city that attracts and retains residents of all generations with an innovative, diverse economy and well-connected neighborhoods that provide viable housing opportunities for all. HomeCOS, Housing Our Future, represents the Mayor’s commitment to achieving the affordable and attainable housing component that is foundational to a great city.