Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Paul S. Chinowsky

Second Advisor

Amy N. Javernick-Will

Third Advisor

Tom G. Thibodeau


The passage of the Housing Act of 1949 gave birth to the American Dream that envisioned decent housing for every American family. Sixty two years after its passage, the act's vision still lives. Yet for many American families, this dream is just a dream. Current literature suggests that the "number one housing problem is the lack of affordable housing for extremely low-income households" (Sirmans and Macpherson 2003). While attempts to address the affordable housing gap have been substantial and ongoing, this thesis questions what the current obstacles are that prohibit the American Dream from becoming a reality and how to overcome these challenges.

This report explores the barriers facing affordable housing throughout the development process by conducting a series of personal interviews with local individuals in the affordable housing industry in Boulder, CO. The various social, political, and financial issues that often hinder the development of affordable housing, as well as the key factors in successful project implementation are identified and used to develop a list of issues prevalent to affordable housing. The culmination of this study results in the development of seven critical success factors (CSFs) for affordable housing development. The findings of this report will provide guidance to the affordable housing industry as it continues to develop affordable housing solutions in an attempt to narrow the affordable housing gap.