Affordable housing shortage: How big is problem?

Posted at 9:10 PM, Jan 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 23:14:08-05

A hundred people lined up for hours Tuesday morning, all for the chance at an apartment in an affordable housing complex. The crowd got so big, the event was canceled, and people like 70-year-old Faye Reese are still searching for a place of their own.

READ: Applicants turned away after lining up for affordable housing

"It was devastating. After waiting there all night long, and we definitely need a place, you know," she said. 

So do many other families. More than 20,000 families applied for housing vouchers last year in Denver. Only 231 of those families now have housing.

"Demand is outstripping supply. We just can't keep up with demand given the growth in the community," Denver Director of Housing & Neighborhood Development Rick Padilla said.

City leaders say nearly a dozen new housing projects are under construction, but blame the shortage on the population boom and a decline in federal funding.

Denver7 asked Padilla if it was possible to keep up.

"We'll do our best to try to keep up," he answered.

While new construction is good to help fix the problem, the issue with new affordable housing construction is that it won't be finished for at least two years. In that time, the population is growing faster, and so the gap between the supply and the demand continues to grow.