This City Is Offering Cheap Rent to Struggling Artists

November 20, 2015, 9:12 PM UTC
The Artspace Loveland Lofts.
The Artspace Loveland Lofts.
Courtesy of Artspace

Those who are looking for cheap rental units would probably eye a room at the Artspace Loveland Lofts in Colorado, which could cost as low as $386 a month – if you can prove you are a struggling artist.

Interested artists for one of the 30 units at the campus will need to submit an application and go through all the necessary credit and background checks. If they pass that, they’ll need to submit a list of financial documents showing that prove they “income-qualify”. According to the Loveland Housing Authority, that means they need to prove they are artists who are earning less than 60% of the area median income for Larimer County.

A check with the county database shows that the average median income for one person in the county in 2013 is $53,060, so an artist would need to show that his or her annual earnings are less than $31,800.

If they income-qualify, prospects will go through an interview where they showcase their work to prove they are working artists who need help in affordable housing. “We want to be sure that they are in fact an artist, and not somebody who took piano lessons at 10, and says, “Hey, I am an artist,”” said Melodie Bahan, vice president of communications at Artspace.

The commune began accepting applicants last December. The cheapest unit costs around $386 a month, while a three-bedroom space would cost a monthly rent of $1,146.

With the U.S. currently in the midst of its strongest stretch of rental growth since the late 1980s, and with the fall of homeownership rates, rental prices could increase by as much as 8% next year, one study showed. Another recent study found that the number of U.S. households that fork out at least half of their income on rent is set to increase by 25% to 14.8 million over the next decade.

Artspace, a Minneapolis-based non-profit developer of art-related properties, have been trying to give working artists a way towards affordable housing. They have used of low-income tax credits to help lower the rental cost, and have currently 39 projects around the country that mostly offer mixed-use affordable housing to artists.