HB22-1304 (Roberts & Bradfield/Coleman & Gonzales) States Grants Investments Local Affordable Housing
This bill creates two state grant programs: the local investments in transformational affordable housing grant program (affordable housing grant program), and the infrastructure and strong communities grant program (strong communities grant program), and allocates federal relief funds to these grant programs. The affordable housing grant program provides grants to local governments and nonprofits to allow them to invest in affordable housing, including through funding for eviction legal services. The strong communities grant program provides grants to eligible local governments to allow them to invest in infrastructure projects which support affordable housing, and requires a multi-agency group to develop a list of sustainable land use best practices that will accomplish the goals of the grant program.
The Children’s Campaign supports this bill. Throughout the pandemic, households with children have consistently been more likely than households without children to report being behind on housing payments or having little or no confidence in their ability to make next month’s payment. Increased investments in safe, stable, affordable housing for Colorado families is more critical than ever.
In particular, increased access to legal services for families facing eviction is essential. Families who rent their housing have been hit particularly hard by the economic fallout from COVID-19. Nationally, renters with children have consistently been more than twice as likely as families who own their housing to report being behind on payments and being very or extremely likely to have to leave their home. Even prior to the pandemic, families with children were more likely to face eviction. Due to past and current policies and practices that create more barriers to housing stability for communities of color, Black and Latinx renters are also significantly more likely to face eviction.
Renters who have access to legal counsel during an eviction process are significantly more likely to remain in their homes. However, a study found that less than three percent of renters in Denver County had access to an attorney during an eviction proceeding. Additional funding for eviction legal defense is needed to provide legal representation to families facing eviction across the state so that every family has a safe place to call home.
The bill was introduced and assigned to the House Transportation and Local Government Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard on March 29 at 1:30 p.m.