Housing Domain

Below, explore Equity Indicators related to housing and homelessness in Fort Collins. Click on an Indicator to expand for more information. To dig deeper, follow the links within each Indicator.

The Equity Indicators Dashboard is a work in progress. More measures, explanations, and easy-to-understand graphics will be added, and the dashboard will continue to grow over time.

These narratives are a collaborative effort between City of Fort Collins staff and Equity Indicators Project Team members.

PLACEHOLDER

Overview

Communities across the country are facing a housing affordability crisis and Fort Collins is no exception. In the last decade, rents in Fort Collins have increased nearly 70%. The median price to purchase a home has more than doubled and is rapidly approaching $600,000. Wages have also increased by about 25% over the last decade – but that’s not anywhere near enough to keep up.

One of the largest contributors to many people’s wealth generation is home ownership. A home is both a place to live and an investment in the future, providing opportunities for the next generation. Homeownership by race, therefore, is an indicator that sheds light on whether race continues to be a predictor of outcomes related to wealth generation and housing stability in Fort Collins.

In housing, significant evidence demonstrates that institutional and structural racism has unfairly limited the ability of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities to secure healthy, stable housing they can afford, both historically and today. While Fort Collins did not have formal redlining, segregation and restrictive covenants that discriminated against people of color and low-income households are part of our community’s history. These inequities continue today, despite the Fair Housing Act and other pieces of legislation designed to combat systemic and structural racism. We know that access to healthy, stable, affordable housing is not distributed equitably among all residents in Fort Collins.

Homeownership cannot be discussed without also recognizing the relationship between housing instability and homelessness. People may become homeless due to lack of affordable housing, income levels below cost of living, healthcare expenses, mental illness, escaping violence, loss of community support, and the impacts of racism. While a Housing First approach is utilized in Fort Collins, it requires collaboration among many entities to not only get people housed, but keep them housed.

Homelessness is a costly, complex, and life-threatening issue that impacts the entire community. Nationally, an estimated 500,000 people are experiencing homelessness each night. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Black people make up more than 40% of the homeless population but represent only 13% of the general population. Native Americans, Alaskans, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders’ share of the homeless population is more than double their representation in the general population. Those identifying as Latinx make up 18% of the overall population and 21% of people experiencing homelessness. People may become homeless due to housing instability, lack of affordable housing, income levels below cost of living, healthcare expenses, escaping violence, and other impacts of racial disparities. Generational poverty, involvement with other systems (criminal justice, foster care), mental health issues, and substance use disorders are just a few examples of the systemic issues that perpetuate cycles of homelessness.

The City and community of Fort Collins have adopted the goal to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. The City partners with many service providers, stakeholders, and the Northern Colorado Continuum of Care (NoCO CoC) to ensure life-saving services are available and accessible, and to mitigate negative impacts of homelessness.

There is no single solution that will end homelessness in our community. Each person has a unique set of needs and compounding factors that must be acknowledged, and equity considerations are vital: permanent supportive housing may work for one person but not another, some may need mental and behavioral healthcare while others might benefit from assisted living options. Individual circumstances must be considered, and solutions tailored based on each person’s unique needs and barriers.

Housing is about more than a unit being built, a policy approach, or a percentage of income. Housing, and home, is about people. In 2021, the City adopted a Housing Strategic Plan with the vision that everyone has stable, healthy housing they can afford. Given the scale of this challenge and the inequities we must address, there is no time to waste.

Sheltered Homelessness

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a “sheltered” person experiencing homelessness resides in an emergency shelter or in “transitional or supportive housing for homeless persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters.” The number of people experiencing sheltered homelessness is gathered during the annual “Point in Time” count conducted by community organizations. Homelessness is closely linked to a wide variety of other community issues, including homeownership, affordable housing, wages and cost of living, systemic racism, educational attainment, criminal justice and foster care systems, and domestic violence. Addressing inequities in homelessness requires examining each of these systems for gaps and opportunities. 

Source: City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability Department – Gaps Analysis, 2019.

Unsheltered Homelessness

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an “unsheltered” person experiencing homelessness resides in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the street. The number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness is gathered during the annual “Point in Time” count conducted by community organizations. Homelessness is closely linked to a wide variety of other community issues, including homeownership, affordable housing, wages and cost of living, systemic racism, educational attainment, criminal justice and foster care systems, and domestic violence. Addressing inequities in homelessness requires examining each of these systems for gaps and opportunities.

Source: City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability Department – Gaps Analysis, 2019.

Home Ownership

Owning a home is one of the most effective ways for a household to grow wealth. But, historical practices like redlining and restrictive covenants systematically prevented BIPOC communities from securing loans and growing wealth through home ownership. The legacy of neighborhood segregation and social and economic discrimination against BIPOC community members is evident in generational wealth gaps that affect access to healthy and stable housing today. Widespread disparities in income, credit availability and wealth generation are most pervasive along racial/ethnic lines. White families have nearly 10 times the net worth of Black families, and homeownership rates for BIPOC households are significantly lower than that for white households.

Source: American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2018.

Housing Cost Burden

Because people’s wages have not kept up with the price of housing, many people are “cost burdened,” meaning they are spending more than 30% of their income on their rent or mortgage payments. In Fort Collins, disparities in cost burden are most apparent when looking at both housing tenure (rent/own) and race/ethnicity. Sixty percent of Fort Collins renters and 20% of homeowners are cost burdened. Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic households are also more likely to experience housing cost burden than white or Asian households. These disparities have impacts far beyond affording rent or mortgage payments. Because cost burdened households spend more than 30% of their income on housing, they have less money for savings, food, healthcare, and other essential needs.

 

Source: American Community Survey Microdata 5-year estimates, 2018.

PLACEHOLDER

Overview

Communities across the country are facing a housing affordability crisis and Fort Collins is no exception. In the last decade, rents in Fort Collins have increased nearly 70%. The median price to purchase a home has more than doubled and is rapidly approaching $600,000. Wages have also increased by about 25% over the last decade – but that’s not anywhere near enough to keep up.

One of the largest contributors to many people’s wealth generation is home ownership. A home is both a place to live and an investment in the future, providing opportunities for the next generation. Homeownership by race, therefore, is an indicator that sheds light on whether race continues to be a predictor of outcomes related to wealth generation and housing stability in Fort Collins.

In housing, significant evidence demonstrates that institutional and structural racism has unfairly limited the ability of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities to secure healthy, stable housing they can afford, both historically and today. While Fort Collins did not have formal redlining, segregation and restrictive covenants that discriminated against people of color and low-income households are part of our community’s history. These inequities continue today, despite the Fair Housing Act and other pieces of legislation designed to combat systemic and structural racism. We know that access to healthy, stable, affordable housing is not distributed equitably among all residents in Fort Collins.

Homeownership cannot be discussed without also recognizing the relationship between housing instability and homelessness. People may become homeless due to lack of affordable housing, income levels below cost of living, healthcare expenses, mental illness, escaping violence, loss of community support, and the impacts of racism. While a Housing First approach is utilized in Fort Collins, it requires collaboration among many entities to not only get people housed, but keep them housed.

Homelessness is a costly, complex, and life-threatening issue that impacts the entire community. Nationally, an estimated 500,000 people are experiencing homelessness each night. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Black people make up more than 40% of the homeless population but represent only 13% of the general population. Native Americans, Alaskans, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders’ share of the homeless population is more than double their representation in the general population. Those identifying as Latinx make up 18% of the overall population and 21% of people experiencing homelessness. People may become homeless due to housing instability, lack of affordable housing, income levels below cost of living, healthcare expenses, escaping violence, and other impacts of racial disparities. Generational poverty, involvement with other systems (criminal justice, foster care), mental health issues, and substance use disorders are just a few examples of the systemic issues that perpetuate cycles of homelessness.

The City and community of Fort Collins have adopted the goal to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. The City partners with many service providers, stakeholders, and the Northern Colorado Continuum of Care (NoCO CoC) to ensure life-saving services are available and accessible, and to mitigate negative impacts of homelessness.

There is no single solution that will end homelessness in our community. Each person has a unique set of needs and compounding factors that must be acknowledged, and equity considerations are vital: permanent supportive housing may work for one person but not another, some may need mental and behavioral healthcare while others might benefit from assisted living options. Individual circumstances must be considered, and solutions tailored based on each person’s unique needs and barriers.

Housing is about more than a unit being built, a policy approach, or a percentage of income. Housing, and home, is about people. In 2021, the City adopted a Housing Strategic Plan with the vision that everyone has stable, healthy housing they can afford. Given the scale of this challenge and the inequities we must address, there is no time to waste.

Sheltered Homelessness

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a “sheltered” person experiencing homelessness resides in an emergency shelter or in “transitional or supportive housing for homeless persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters.” The number of people experiencing sheltered homelessness is gathered during the annual “Point in Time” count conducted by community organizations. Homelessness is closely linked to a wide variety of other community issues, including homeownership, affordable housing, wages and cost of living, systemic racism, educational attainment, criminal justice and foster care systems, and domestic violence. Addressing inequities in homelessness requires examining each of these systems for gaps and opportunities. 

Source: City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability Department – Gaps Analysis, 2019.

[infogram id=”14aa9418-9ffd-4961-8d77-24897a919dd9″ prefix=”9vL” format=”interactive” title=”Sheltered Homeless 2″]

Unsheltered Homelessness

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an “unsheltered” person experiencing homelessness resides in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the street. The number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness is gathered during the annual “Point in Time” count conducted by community organizations. Homelessness is closely linked to a wide variety of other community issues, including homeownership, affordable housing, wages and cost of living, systemic racism, educational attainment, criminal justice and foster care systems, and domestic violence. Addressing inequities in homelessness requires examining each of these systems for gaps and opportunities.

Source: City of Fort Collins Social Sustainability Department – Gaps Analysis, 2019.

Home Ownership

Owning a home is one of the most effective ways for a household to grow wealth. But, historical practices like redlining and restrictive covenants systematically prevented BIPOC communities from securing loans and growing wealth through home ownership. The legacy of neighborhood segregation and social and economic discrimination against BIPOC community members is evident in generational wealth gaps that affect access to healthy and stable housing today. Widespread disparities in income, credit availability and wealth generation are most pervasive along racial/ethnic lines. White families have nearly 10 times the net worth of Black families, and homeownership rates for BIPOC households are significantly lower than that for white households.

Source: American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2018.

Housing Cost Burden

Because people’s wages have not kept up with the price of housing, many people are “cost burdened,” meaning they are spending more than 30% of their income on their rent or mortgage payments. In Fort Collins, disparities in cost burden are most apparent when looking at both housing tenure (rent/own) and race/ethnicity. Sixty percent of Fort Collins renters and 20% of homeowners are cost burdened. Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic households are also more likely to experience housing cost burden than white or Asian households. These disparities have impacts far beyond affording rent or mortgage payments. Because cost burdened households spend more than 30% of their income on housing, they have less money for savings, food, healthcare, and other essential needs.

 

Source: American Community Survey Microdata 5-year estimates, 2018.