Cost of Living Toolkit

  • Denver is constantly being recognized as one of the best places in the country to live - and with good reason! It’s hard to beat the mile-high city’s lifestyle, music, and food scene, or the mountain views! This recognition has caused a boom in the Denver population which has increased the cost of living across all neighborhoods.
    We want to help! We have consolidated local and national information on topics including housing, neighborhood profiles, student loans, exploring the city, and more. Whether you’re a Denver native or new to the town, this toolkit will help you navigate Denver’s financial landscape.


  • Renting, Subletting & Homesharing

    Families that meet the low income requirements set by HUD annually (check here), the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) owns and manages over 3,900 subsidized, and affordable rate units. The properties range from townhomes, to high-rise communities, to scattered single family homes throughout the City and County of Denver. To review the property list, visit DHA’s website.

    You can Home Share through Home Partners. This program allows you to find a home to rent, with the option (but no obligation) to buy within the next 3-5 years. You apply, qualify, and find a home for sale on the market, then Home Partners will buy it. You then rent the home from them and have the right to buy it for their listed market price (your rent does not go towards the purchase). The lowest rent available is typically $1200 and you can even search for houses near local high schools. This is a great option to test out a home before you buy it and complete the loan process on your timeline! Visit the Home Partners website for more information, including income minimums; eviction, criminal, and bankruptcy background checks; and stable employment. 

    You can homeshare with a senior through Sunshine Homeshare. This program matches seniors with available rooms to those seeking more affordable housing. This helps a senior remain in their home and helps those seeking housing get discounted rent in exchange for household chores. The program involves an extensive matching process and a week long test-run. To learn more and apply, visit Sunshine Homeshare’s website.

    The most effective websites to search for rentals in the Denver area are:

    Sublet in the University neighborhoods. With four universities in Denver, there are many opportunities to sublet from students who have left for the summer. This is especially true around the University of Denver which has great access to the Light Rail. Facebook has subletting groups like University of Denver (DU) Housing, Sublets, & Roommates.

  • Places to stay while house hunting

    You will likely find a better deal on housing if you move to the area first and search for housing while you are here. It is much easier to find housing by walking around, driving through neighborhoods, and talking to people than trying to find a place remotely.

    Consider House Sitting to have free (and sometimes paid) places to stay while you begin your housing search. Check out Trusted House Sitters; Luxury House Sitting; and to see if this is a good fit for you.

  • Down Payment Assistance Through Landed

    DPS is excited to share a down payment assistance opportunity, made possible thanks to a partnership with Landed - a San Francisco-based startup that helps essential professionals buy homes; and Ben and Lucy Ana Walton of Zoma Foundation, who have generously provided a $5 million philanthropic investment to help educators in Denver purchase homes. These organizations know Denver has become a challenging place to purchase a home, and they want to support DPS team members in buying a home in the community they serve. As of May 2019, Landed has held over 500 conversations with DPS educators, and 20 DPS educators have purchased a home with Landed. Read about Landed's First Year in Colorado.

    How It Works

    • The opportunity provides half of the 20% down payment on a home, up to $70,000 per household, to be paid back in the future. The assistance is available to all full-time employees who have worked in public education for at least two years, anywhere in the country. Participants do not have to be first-time home buyers to take advantage of this opportunity, and there are not any explicit restrictions on the home purchase location. Purchased homes must be used as a primary residence.

    • Landed is a co-investment and not a loan or grant. When the homebuyer refinances or sells the home to end their partnership, Landed is paid back the original down payment funding plus 25% of any gain in the home’s value. If the home is sold and has lost value, then Landed shares in that loss as well, just like any true co-investment partner. View this step-by-step guide to learn more about how Landed works.

    Questions? Landed has numerous resources available on their blog and website. Feel free to reach out to Landed at for more information.

  • Homeownership Through Habitat for Humanity

    Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver's homeownership program empowers working families to build and buy their own homes. With Denver's housing costs reaching record highs in recent years, becoming a first-time homeowner in our city has become increasingly hard. Habitat's homeownership program provides a hand-up to families so that they can get their foot in the door to purchase a home in metro Denver. 

    Some qualifications do apply.

    View this flyer for program information or visit their website for qualifications and more information on available programs. 

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  • Student Loans

    The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program allows full time teachers who have taught for a minimum of five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency (as well as other qualifications) to be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, as well as your Subsidized and Federal Stafford Loans. 

    If you have a Direct Consolidation Loan or a Federal Consolidation Loan, you may be eligible for forgiveness of the outstanding portion of the consolidation loan that repaid an eligible Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, or Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan. 

    For more information, please go to: Teacher Loan Forgiveness

    Teacher Cancellation of Perkins Loans: under this program, if you are a teacher in public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school system serving students from low-income families, are a special education teacher, or teach in the field of mathematics, science, foreign language, or bilingual education (or any other field with a shortage), you may qualify for up to 100% cancellation of your Federal Perkins Loan over five years. You also qualify for loan deferment, and if you are interested in applying for this you would need to speak with the university that holds your loan information. 

    Almost all of DPS Schools qualify for these programs. 
    For more information, please visit:

  • Tuition Reimbursement

    • Teachers and SSPs may be eligible for student loan and tuition reimbursement, up to $1,000 per
    • school year and $6,000 total lifetime. For tuition reimbursement, eligible expenses include only
    • professional development related to the assignment(s) for which you are or could become qualified. For more information and to apply, visit The Commons.


  • DPS has a wide variety of services with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Check out everything on The Commons.

  • Preschool for 4 year olds

    • DPS offers tuition credits through the Denver Preschool Program, Colorado Preschool Program, and other funding sources. Your child’s tuition rate depends on your household size and income. Families are automatically considered for tuition credits when they fill out the application and supply all the correct documentation. Students who are 4 years old or in their last year before kindergarten are eligible for tuition credits. Students are only eligible for one year of tuition credit.
    • Requirements for tuition reductions:
      • They are Denver residents. Non-Denver residents must pay full tuition.
      • Parents fill out the preschool application and all required documentation.

    For additional information, please visit: and

  • Kindergarten

    Half day kindergarten is free for all Colorado students. Parents are responsible for securing care for the other half of the day.

  • After and Before School Programs

    DPS’ Department of Extended learning and Community Schools oversees many after-school programs in the district. Our programs provide DPS students a safe, enriching place to continue their studies, explore new skills and make friends during out-of-school time.

Public Transportation

  • Colorado Drug Card

    The Colorado Drug Card is a free prescription assistance program available to everyone living in Colorado. The program provides discounts on both brand and generic medication with an average savings around 30%, with some discounts as high as 75%. The card is accepted at Walgreens, Safeway, Albertsons, Target, CVS, Walmart, as well as over 56,000 participating pharmacies around the country. To learn more, please visit:

Employee Discounts

  •  DPS team members have exclusive access to discounts on local and national popular brands, retailers, and services through Beneplace-  log in or create an account to access discounts on:

    • Cell phone services
    • Dining & groceries
    • Electronics
    • Entertainment
    • Travel
    • Insurance
    • Sports & outdoor products
    • And So Much More!
  • Denver Art Museum

    Teachers save $10 on an individual membership - good for free admission for one year. The teacher discount is only available when a valid teacher ID is shown at the museum welcome desk and cannot be ordered online or over the phone.

  • Wings Over The Rockies: Teacher Flight Program

    STEM teachers are invited to enjoy a free 20-minute flight at our Air and Space Museum, most likely in the vintage 1940s Stearman biplane. Sign up or watch teacher flights here:

  • Colorado Symphony

    Teachers can purchase $10 tickets the day of a concert, in person, at the Colorado SymphonyBox Office. For those who are eager to get their seats ahead of time, $12 advance tickets can be purchased online with the promo code LISTEN and then picked up with a valid I.D. All concerts are subject to availability and a limited number of discount tickets are available per performance. For more details, please visit:

  • Teacher Ranger Program

    The National Park Service Teacher Ranger Teacher (TRT) program is an extended professional development opportunity for educators from K-12 schools to learn about the resources and educational materials available through the National Park Service. Teachers participating in the TRT program will have the opportunity to engage in parks and park resources, participate in a webinar about lesson planning, develop at least one lesson to be used in their classroom or school, assist the park with an education project, and increase their understanding of place-based learning. This program links National Park units and teachers from schools with underserved student populations. Teachers spend the summer learning, and sometimes also living in the park. When TRTs return to school in the fall, they spend part of their classroom time presenting their TRT projects to their own students and to a wider education audience. Teachers receive a stipend at the end of the summer (after Oct 1) and upon successful completion of both the NPS project and the online course with CU Denver. Parks do their recruiting for the program in the early spring (March-April). To learn more or apply, please visit:

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