Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Friday appointed a longtime affordable housing advocate to fill a new chief housing officer post that will oversee a coming expansion of city spending on the issue.
Provided by the Denver mayor’s office
The hiring of Britta Fisher comes several months after Hancock’s administration reshuffled its management of affordable housing initiatives. In February, housing policy director Erik Soliván, who had been positioned as Hancock’s point person on the issue just 13 months earlier, resigned amid the changes — and after the city posted the new, higher-ranking chief housing officer position.
Fisher will step in as Hancock’s advisers and City Council members discuss a proposal to double the city’s $15 million-a-year commitment to a local affordable housing fund. Hancock has proposed tapping about $8 million a year from marijuana sales tax proceeds and adding $7 million from elsewhere in the city’s annual budget.
The plan also calls for partnering with the Denver Housing Authority to borrow to issue $105 million in bonds that would allow for affordable housing project subsidies and the buying of more land for income-qualified housing.
Council members have floated changes to the overall plan that include increasing the annual commitment of marijuana tax money.
Fisher will oversee an expanding housing division staff in the Office of Economic Development. Since October, she has worked as executive director of Mpowered, a Colorado nonprofit that provides financial literacy coaching, including at city-backed financial empowerment centers. She previously headed up Localworks, a community development nonprofit in Wheat Ridge.
Fisher is set to start at the city June 11 and will receive a $147,000 salary.
“Affordable housing is the most critical issue facing our city, and it’s vital that we continue to pull on every lever we can to provide more affordable options to our residents,” Hancock said in a news release. “Britta’s work locally to lift families and communities up and her statewide expertise on these issues will be phenomenal additions to our efforts to deliver more quality affordable housing for hard-working Denver residents.”