Montbello FreshLo Initiative Awarded $2+ Million Tax Credit

Montbello Organizing Committee one of only 12 statewide developments to receive state and federal housing tax credit awards in a critical step toward completing a cultural hub that will include 97 affordable housing units

Denver, Colo., Dec. 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Recently, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) announced the recipients of state and federal housing tax credits awarded in its second competitive allocation round of the year. The Montbello FreshLo Initiative, a program of the Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC) that will include a grocery-anchored, cultural hub with affordable housing received an award of  $1,267,504 in federal housing tax credits and  $1,000,000 in state housing tax credits.  

The credit allocation will allow MOC to leverage approximately $34 million in funds to build out the Montbello FreshLo Hub, a mixed-use development that will include 97 affordable housing units, from one to three bedrooms, for residents making 30 to 70 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) which in 2020 is $24,000 to $56,000 in annual gross income for a two-person household in Denver County. The Hub will also include a cultural arts wing with a black box theater, grocery store, nutrition education center and office and retail spaces. Located near two bus stops, the Montbello FreshLo Hub is a community-led initiative that will be a hub for the Montbello neighborhood.

The federal tax credit was awarded as part of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC)  introduced with the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to help communities offset the high costs of developing affordable housing.  The application for LIHTC is extremely competitive and complicated and most applicants receive the award only after two or more tries. The fact that the Montbello FreshLo project received these funds is a testament to the critical need for this Hub and the tireless collaboration of community leaders. Says Christopher Martinez, MOC Board Chair and long-time Montbello resident, "All we needed was for someone to take a chance on our community. That CHFA acknowledged our commitment and willingness to learn the ropes and tap experts to help us complete this development is a testimony. This outcome is the result of teamwork and community engagement and wouldn't have happened without everyone's involvement.”

Taking a chance is a theme that runs through the narrative of MOC's progression. The organization launched with grants from The Denver Foundation and expanded its efforts when selected by the Kresge Foundation as one of 26 out 520 applicants nationwide to receive a FreshLo planning grant in 2016. The Montbello FreshLo Initiative has grown into a project that includes the $55 million Hub, as well as a community food access project and 5-mile walkable loop that connects gardens, parks and schools. Several other funders including The Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Trust and Mile High Connects have also come to the table supporting the organization's collaborative work in the community.

"MOC and the FreshLo Hub are powerful examples of what even small groups can do when they anchor their work in community and bring together funders, investors, and residents to make real change at a community level,” said Patrick Horvath, Director of Economic Development for The Denver Foundation. "We also recognize the critical need for this project in a location that is currently a food, cultural, employment and transportation desert.”

Thousands of community members have been engaged in the development’s planning throughout the process and are eagerly awaiting the launch. "We are excited about the FreshLo project because it represents our community’s self-determination and commitment to eliminate the inequities that have prevented total wellness for our neighbors," says Rev. Vernon Jones, who grew up in Montbello and continues to live and work in the Far Northeast region of Denver.


The FreshLo Hub is projected to break ground in the fall of 2021 with a targeted opening date in 2022.


About Montbello Organizing Committee (MOC)

MOC's mission is to galvanize Montbello residents and provide them with the tools and resources necessary to develop their leadership skills to proactively address the issues affecting their community and quality of life. To learn more, visit

About Montbello FreshLo Initiative

Created with multi-year funding from the Kresge Foundation and supported by The Colorado Health Foundation, The Denver Foundation, Colorado Trust, and Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, and dozens of community partners, Montbello FreshLo is MOC's comprehensive community economic development program designed to create places in the community that promotes cultural heritage, rejuvenates physical spaces, improves health outcomes, and bring diverse peoples together. To learn more and to see project team members, visit

About CHFA

Created in 1973, CHFA invests in loans to low- and moderate-income homebuyers through our network of participating lenders and makes loans to affordable multifamily rental housing developers and small and medium-sized businesses. CHFA also provides education and technical assistance about affordable housing and economic development. For more information about CHFA please visit


Monbello FreshLo Initiative Architectural Rendition

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