Apr 2, 2021 | NEWS | By April Kwan | Photo by Patil Khakhamian

On March 18, the Mosaica project officially launched, with plans to provide over 200 rental housing units south and east of downtown Colorado Springs. 

Mosaica is part of an overarching goal to make housing more affordable in Colorado Springs. Construction is set to begin this spring and is expected to be completed in approximately three years. 

These properties are designed to accommodate families, offering multi-family housing. The Mosaica project will consist of 48 buildings with five to six rental units across three stories in each house. The project will also include shared backyard space and front porches.

To create a more communal feeling, there are also plans for biking and walking trails, a playground, courtyards and wide sidewalks, depending on consultation with potential residents in the area. These properties are designed to be affordable for working people. 

During the introduction of the project on March 18, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers emphasized that affordable housing in the city is a very high priority.

“I set a community goal to build, preserve and create opportunities to purchase an average of 1,000 affordable and attainable units per year over the next five years,” Suthers said. “I’m thrilled to say that Mosaica, and the addition of 232 housing units, contributes to that goal. Mosaica is one of several attainable and affordable projects in various phases of development.”  

Rent is expected to cost an average of $1,600 per month for apartments that range from one-bedroom to four-bedroom. Most apartments include three bedrooms to allow for family living. 

To create a sense of community, developer Darsey Nicklasson intentionally designed the properties to feel like a close-knit neighborhood among families. She also spoke on the origins of the name, which stem from the idea of mosaics. Each house has its place in the neighborhood and together it makes a beautiful community. 

The Mosaica project is only one of Colorado Springs’ intentions to create more affordable housing. It’s part of a longer 10-year plan to progressively add more affordable housing to the city. In addition, around 1,300 units of housing in various stages of planning meet the requirements for affordable housing in Colorado Springs.

Among these are Project Kaleidos, the Academy Heights apartments, Zebulon Flats, Craddock Commercial Real Estate’s project, Goodwin Knight’s project and the Cottages at Gateway, all of which are under development at the moment. All of these projects cater to affordable multi-family living. 

There is a growing need for affordable housing as real estate prices are rising in Colorado Springs. The housing crisis has been increasing over the past decade. As more people move to Colorado, the demand for houses goes up, therefore increasing the price of real estate. This has had a detrimental effect on many working-class people, as they’re driven out of their homes due to increasing rent that they can no longer afford. 

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 21% of renter households in Colorado are defined as “extremely low income,” and 74% of renter households are currently paying more than half of their annual income for housing. This leaves the majority of renters in financial struggle, since the cost of housing is consuming most of their income.

Another alarming aspect of the housing crisis is how it disproportionately affects minoritized groups. In Colorado, people who are considered a part of extremely low-income renter households consist of members of the labor force (38%), senior citizens (31%), people with disabilities (16%), students (5%), single caregivers (2%) and others (8%).

Financial struggles heightened during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have worsened housing situations as well, which trace back to the increasing inequalities from the pandemic. Despite the promise that projects like the Mosaica project represent, there is a shortage of rental homes for people that are extremely low-income renters. The numbers suggest that there is a desperate need for more affordable housing in Colorado. 

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