Developing ​Affordable Housing

The City of Thornton is committed to working to expand the supply and distribution of safe and decent affordable housing throughout the city.  The term “affordable housing” refers to homes or apartments in which the rent is no more than one third of the household income of people that earn less than 80% of the median, the mid-point of all incomes in the metro region.  For the most up to date income limits, see the "Area Median Income" link on the right. 

City Goals for Affordable Housing

The Thornton City Council has developed and adopted an Affordable Housing Policy to encourage developers to build new housing that is affordable for residents that earn 40% Area Median Income or less.  The City's policy focuses on affordable housing that is in close proximity to grocery stores, schools, bus stops or commuter rail, and in the northern portion of the city. The full policy is linked on the right had side of this page.  

The City also completed its Housing Needs Assessment in 2014, which identifies in detail the housing needs and gaps in the Thornton community.  This document is linked on the right.

Development of New Affordable Housing

Developers are encouraged to contact the City to learn about zoning regulations, building codes and potential funding sources. The Current Planning staff can provide information and answer questions about development processes, codes and zoning. Also, City Development offers free pre-application meetings in which developers can sit down with staff to discuss potential projects. Staff can help developers understand the land use, building, fire and access needs associated with the site and project concept.  Interested agencies can visit the Current Planning page under City Development for more information.

City Support for Affordable Housing

Letters of Support: Developers can request a letter of support from the City when applying for outside funding for affordable housing projects.  Projects must the goals and intent of the City's Affordable Housing Policy, address a gap identified in the Housing Needs Assessment, or meet a goal in Thornton's Consolidated Plan (see Grant Programs & Resources).  

Funding through the City: Funding mechanisms are available through the City for private or nonprofit developers to construct or renovate "affordable" units in a multi-family housing project.  Information on these funding sources is shown below and linked on the right hand side of this page. 

  • The Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME) can be used to support homeownership and affordable housing programs or projects that serve low and moderate income individuals and families. 
  • Private Activity Bonds (PAB) are tax exempt bonds designed to offer low cost financing for projects that create jobs and expand the City's tax base.  Each year, Thornton has the option to assign a certain amount of Private Activity Bonds to eligible projects. 

City staff can work with developers to help identify if a project would be eligible for funding, as well as what other types of outside funding might be available.  Contact Neighborhood Services at 303-538-7600 or neighbor@cityofthornton.net for more information.