Two years after Denver rebooted its affordable housing effort, city leaders have nearly finalized a major increase for the government’s spending on the program.

In a unanimous vote, the Denver City Council on Monday approved higher taxes on marijuana and also promised new money from the city’s general fund, boosting the city’s commitment from $15 million to about $30 million per year for housing.

About half of the new money will go to the Denver Housing Authority, allowing it to take on $105 million of new debt in order to accelerate redevelopment projects and land purchases. Altogether, the change could result in the creation or preservation of about 6,200 additional below-market homes over the next decade, doubling the previous projections.

“I think it was a confluence of our ongoing community urgency, council having never stopped talking about new revenue sources … and I think a sincere response from the administration,” said Councilwoman Robin Kniech. While the city moves to implement the new funding, advocates now are discussing other programs to keep people in their homes, she said.

The marijuana tax rate will climb from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent of purchases, starting in October.

Reporter Jon Murray contributed to this report.

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