This year marks the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark civil rights law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. This act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability and familial status. For information about your fair housing rights, visit FHEO's website. Colorado also offers housing-specific protections, which you can learn more about on the state’s website.
Protecting Fair Housing in Boulder
In addition to protections provided by the Fair Housing Act, the City of Boulder's Human Rights Ordinance protects against discrimination within the city limits of Boulder.
The ordinance protects against discrimination in three areas:
Public accommodation - some examples of places of public accommodation are retail stores, restaurants, health clubs and movie theaters.
Within these areas, the ordinance prohibits discrimination based on ancestry, color, creed, gender variance, genetic characteristics, immigration status, marital status, mental disability, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and source of income. In housing, it also prohibits discrimination based on custody of a minor child, parenthood and pregnancy. In employment, it also prohibits discrimination based on age, specifically age 40 years and older.
When the City Council enacted the Human Rights Ordinance in 1972, there were two main reasons for creating protection at a local level:
Protecting classes which are not protected at the state or federal levels such as sexual orientation, gender variance and genetic characteristics.
State and Federal agencies are dealing with a much larger volume of complaints and therefore a complaint at the state or federal level can be time consuming. The City of Boulder Office of Human Rights is generally able to process complaints more promptly than larger agencies.
Learn more about Boulder’s Human Rights Ordinance and find information about filing a complaint on the city’s website.
In addition to this local protection, the city supports fair housing through a variety of programs and services.
Community Mediation and Resolution Center
The City of Boulder Community Mediation and Resolution Center (CMRC) provides mediation, restorative justice, meeting facilitation, landlord-tenant information and more.
Landlord, Tenant and Roommate Resources - CMRC provides information and resources for renters, owners, roommates, and property managers for residential and commercial rental properties within the City of Boulder and areas of the county. Resources include a landlord/tenant handbook and many commonly used sample documents such as the Boulder Model Lease and a 7-day security deposit demand letter. Landlords and tenants can also utilize CMRC’s mediation services.
Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Services (EPRAS) - EPRAS expands legal and financial services for those facing a potential eviction. The program helps people resolve eviction-related housing issues through legal services, rental assistance and mediation.
Affordable Housing in Boulder
Affordable housing is a vital component of a thriving community. Research shows that stable, affordable housing is crucial to a community's health, environment and overall well-being. Learn more about affordable housing in Boulder.
The City of Boulder has a goal for 15% of all homes to be affordable for low-, moderate-, and middle-income households by 2035. These goals are part of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, which outlines the community vision for Boulder's future. As of January 2023, there are over 3,940 affordable homes in Boulder, more than halfway to the 15% goal.
The city implements multiple programs and policies to increase access to affordable housing to ensure that families and individuals have safe and affordable places to live in Boulder.
Affordable Homeownership Programs
The City of Boulder is committed to making homes in our community available to a variety of people through a variety of programs. Learn more about the city’s program and other local homeownership assistance programs on the city’s website.
Permanently Affordable Homes Program - Through this program, homes are sold at below market-rate prices to income eligible buyers who intend to owner occupy the home. Homes are permanently affordable and governed by an Affordability Covenant that limits the resale price and places other restrictions on the home.
Solution Grant: Down Payment Assistance Grant Program - This grant assists with down payment and closing costs for buyers with lower assets. The grant bridges the gap between money the buyer has available for down payment and closing costs and the minimum required to close. These grants are for buyers purchasing select Permanently Affordable homes, or Thistle Communities Land Trust homes in Boulder city limits.
H2O: House to Homeownership: Down Payment Assistance Loan Program - Provides a second loan for up to $100,000 on market rate homes purchased in the City of Boulder intended to help buyers with limited assets close on the purchase of a home.
Middle Income Down Payment Pilot - This pilot will provide down payment assistance to middle-income home buyers to purchase a market rate home. In exchange, the homeowner agrees to make that home permanently affordable through a deed restriction.
Supporting Manufactured Housing
Boulder’s manufactured housing communities provide a lifestyle valued by their residents at a relatively affordable cost. The city has committed to preserving this housing option and has taken many supportive actions. Find manufactured home community resources on the city’s website.
In 2017, the City of Boulder purchased the Ponderosa manufactured home community, located adjacent to West Fourmile Canyon Creek, with plans to minimize displacement, preserve long-term affordability, replace outdated infrastructure, reduce flood risk to the community and introduce new energy-efficient affordable housing options. Learn more about this project on the city’s website.
Investing in Affordable Housing
Each year, the city distributes funds to support affordable housing in Boulder, including local and federal funding for affordable housing and community development. The city directs this funding to a wide array of affordable housing activities, including new construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, preservation, land banking, permanently supportive housing vouchers, down payment/closing cost assistance and financial education programs. All funding is directed towards activities that benefit low- and moderate-income households in Boulder. Learn more on the city’s website.
Recently completed and active affordable housing investment projects include:
Boulder Junction Phase 2 | City of Boulder (bouldercolorado.gov)
Alpine-Balsam Implementation | City of Boulder (bouldercolorado.gov)
Housing Equity Symposium
In 2021, the city partnered with the Boulder Chamber and the Urban Land Institute to host a Housing Equity Symposium. This event raised awareness and understanding of Boulder’s history related to race and class, how it impacts the city’s current housing challenges and began a community dialogue to identify specific actions to address long-standing inequities. Learn more and watch the recording of the symposium on the city’s website.