AURORA | Creating programs called land trusts as a way of creating affordable housing is one of several related topics slated for discussion Monday at an Aurora City Council special study session. 

The group will discuss an incentive proposal for the Fitzsimons area that would aim to create more affordable housing in the mostly-low income region of the city. 

Meeting as the Aurora Urban Renewal Authority, the group will decide whether to allocate an additional $1 million to the city’s newly-established affordable housing fund. Council members already agreed to set aside $1.1 million for the efforts. This additional $1 million could only be used in the Fitzsimons Urban Renewal Area.

The group could also decide to give initial approval for a one-time capital request of $400,000 for a housing program that aims to end generational poverty.

The program called GOALS, which is being spearheaded by Wheat Ridge-based Family Tree, is set to open in the former Excelsior Youth Campus at 15001 East Oxford Ave.

According to city documents, the money being requested would allow the campus to add bathroom facilities, enhance privacy for families, construct an interior stairwell and other improvements.

The money would come from the marijuana tax revenue homelessness fund. Nearly $2 million in the fund is unassigned to any projects.

Council members will hear about community land trusts, which were a topic of discussion among some city council candidates in 2017. Land trusts work by allowing homebuyers to purchase a house without purchasing the land. A trust owning the land means a lower home-purchase cost.

One organization, Elevation Community Land Trusts, plans to start working with the city soon. The group says they serve home buyers at or below 80 percent of the area median income.

Elevation is seeking participation from the city to make the homes more affordable. Each development project would be different, according to city documents. But a memo of understanding that the council could approve spells out ways the city and Elevate could partner, such as working together to engage residents and support the acquisition of homes.

— KARA MASON, Staff Writer