Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has amplified the city’s need for affordable housing during his two-plus terms in office. And Butler Snow’s Dawn Bookhardt led a team of attorneys in creating an agreement to help move the city’s affordable housing plan along. She helped close an agreement that brought together a high-profile social issue and a financing approach that took some legal acrobatics.
Butler Snow represented the Denver Housing Authority and the City and County of Denver since April 2018 in structuring an agreement between the two governmental bodies for new units of affordable housing.
The DHA raised $130 million in funds from bonds to pay for the housing, according to Butler Snow’s submission to Law Week’s Q3 2019 Big Deals issue, and Denver will pay the DHA through 2038 with the money subject to appropriation from the budget each year by City Council.
The housing is intended for people and households earning 80% of the area median income or less, ranging from rank-and-file civil servants to people who are homeless. Bookhardt said half the money paid to the DHA will go toward housing for people making 30% or less of the AMI.
She said she’s passionate about the issue of affordable housing because people close to her have struggled with mental health and addiction that has put them on a path to homelessness. “Those people are so important to me, and just finding them places to live along the way is so hard.”
Bookhardt added she has also seen through her sister, who works in education, the struggles of children who are homeless and how it interferes with their ability to focus on school. “Housing is a basic need, and so it is near and dear to my heart.”