Innovative Affordable Housing Strategies

HB21-1271 creates three new programs for the purpose of offering grant money and other forms of state assistance to local governments to promote innovative solutions to the development of affordable housing across the state.

DOLA’s Division of Local Government (DLG), Community Development Office (CDO) will administer two of the new programs, the Affordable Housing Development Incentives Grant Program and the Planning Grant Program. DOLA’s Division of Housing (DOH) will administer the Affordable Housing Guided Toolkit and Local Officials Guide Program (Affordable Housing Toolkit Program). DLG and DOH will collaborate in the creation and ongoing management of the programs. Due to the nature of stimulus funding, all three programs must spend funds by June 30, 2024. Municipalities, counties, and city/counties are eligible for all three programs. Federally recognized tribes are eligible for the Affordable Housing Toolkit Program. For more information on the Affordable Housing Toolkit Program, please visit DOH’s website. 

DOLA staff is working with stakeholders to create detailed program guidelines and timelines for all three new programs. Per HB21-1271, program guidelines will be posted by September 1, 2021. Significant funding has been committed to support local government planning work in the development of affordable housing but the timeline is tight. This has led some local governments to express concern that they will not be able to find a consultant and to complete their work in time. APA Colorado is partnering with DOLA (especially due to HB21-1271 funding) to gather information on all the consultants (i.e., firms and sole proprietors) that can support this need. Here is a link to the APA consultant list:

Affordable Housing Development Incentives Grant Program

The Affordable Housing Development Incentives Grant Program provides grants to local governments to develop one or more affordable housing developments in their community that are liveable, vibrant, and driven by community benefits. 

These incentive grants can help cover tap fees, infrastructure, parks/playgrounds and other needs and amenities that support the affordable housing project. Local governments are encouraged to pick one or two shovel-ready projects that can spend all of the funds by June 2024, and provide gap funding. Projects must provide community benefits (e.g., covering tap fees or infrastructure costs for an affordable housing project and/with a child care center, for example). A small portion can be used for needs and amenities in the neighborhood where the affordable housing development is located.To qualify, local governments must adopt at least three strategies from the menu of policy and regulatory options listed in the program guidelines.

Program contact: KC McFerson, Senior Planner,, 720.557.4661

Incentives Grant Program Forms and Resources


Incentives Grant Program Funding Decisions

Details on funding decisions will be posted as awards are made


Planning Grant Program

The Planning Grant Program provides grants to local governments to help them understand their housing needs and adopt policy and regulatory strategies to qualify for the Affordable Housing Development Incentives Grant Program. Of note, the Planning Grant Program can fund housing needs assessments to help local governments guide their policy and regulatory approach to reducing barriers to affordable housing development, but the application for funding must also include work to adopt a qualifying strategy (from the options listed in the bill). 

Approximately $6,816,000 is available for Planning Grant awards. Individual Planning Grant awards are expected to be approximately $50,000-$200,000. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with their DOLA Regional Manager and to get input from CDO staff before submitting a Planning Grant Program application. Applications can be submitted anytime through the Division of Local Government Online Grants Portal. The deadline for the first review of applications is September 20, 2021. Applications will then be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis monthly until funds are depleted. Grantees are encouraged to complete their qualifying planning work as quickly as possible so they may compete for the Incentives Grant Program, which is expected to open for a main funding round in fall 2022.

Program contact: 

Carrie Latimer
Planning Specialist
Phone: 303.551.3580


Planning Grant Program Forms and Resources


Planning Grant Application Deadlines

  • First Funding Round: September 20, 2021
  • Second Funding Round: October 25, 2021
  • Third Funding Round: December 6, 2021
  • Fourth Funding Round: January 31, 2022


Planning Grant Program Funding Decisions


Model Land Use Code (MLUC) Update 

As part of the Planning Grant Program, the Community Development Office will update and publish model land use codes for municipalities and counties. For more information on the MLUC update process, see the Community Development Office’s Land Use Codes webpage.

The first round of funding for this program will be made available in a small, highly competitive "Catalytic Round." We expect competitive projects to be shovel ready, carry demonstration value, and that qualifying communities have gone above and beyond in adopting qualifying strategies from the list of strategies in the program guidelines below. We will accept Letters of Intent (LOI) and hold pre-application meetings with potential applicants. LOIs are due November 1, 2021.