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Housing

Housing

Every Colorado family deserves a safe place to call home. Even before the pandemic, many Colorado families were facing a housing crisis. Colorado families need solutions to help them stay in their homes.  

Housing insecurity generates many stressors and challenges for families. Frequent moves, or living in overcrowded or poor-quality housing, impact children’s well-being and development and parents’ mental health. Children who experience high rates of housing instability or homelessness have lower academic achievement and delayed literacy skills. They are more likely to be truant and more likely to drop out of school. Mothers who have been evicted have higher rates of maternal depression. Families with children are more likely to be evicted than other groups and, due to past and current racist policies and practices, Black and Latinx renters are significantly more likely to experience higher rates of eviction and homelessness.  

Throughout the pandemic, households with children have consistently been more likely than households without to report being behind on housing payments or having little or no confidence in their ability to make next month’s payment. 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.  

In particular, increased access to legal services for families facing eviction is essential. Renters who have access to legal counsel during an eviction process are significantly more likely to remain in their homes. However, very few renters do. Additional funding for eviction legal defense is needed to provide legal representation to families facing eviction across the state, so every family has a safe place to call home.  

Increased investments in safe, stable, affordable housing for Colorado families is more critical than ever. The Children’s Campaign supports more equitable housing policies for families across the state. Some of our most recent legislative successes include the following: 

  • HB23-1186 (Lindsay & Jodeh/Exum & Jaquez Lewis) Remote Access for Eviction Proceedings allows all parties in a residential eviction proceeding to choose whether they intend to participate in person or virtually, extending an effective pandemic-era practice. This bill will help ensure that fewer people receive a default judgment and lose their home solely because they cannot appear in-person for an eviction hearing due to barriers such as difficulty taking time off work, finding child care, or accessing transportation.This is good progress, but Colorado must further improve the transparency and fairness of eviction processes by collecting and publishing more consistent, comprehensive data. Better data collection around these traumatic events would increase understanding of who is most affected and allow policymakers to identify the best ways to prevent families from being evicted.
  • HB22-1329 (McCluskie/Hansen) Eviction Legal Defense Funding in the “Long Bill” secured an additional $500,000 to provide legal assistance for Colorado families facing eviction. Renters who have access to legal counsel during an eviction proceeding are significantly more likely to remain in their homes. Additional funding for eviction legal defense is still needed to provide legal representation to families facing eviction across the state so that every Colorado family has a safe place to call home. 
  • SB21-173 (Gonzales & Moreno/Gonzales-Gutierrez & Caraveo), HB21-1117 (Gonzales-Gutierrez & Lontine/Gonzales & Rodriguez), HB21-1329 (Woodrow & Gonzales-Gutierrez/Holbert & Gonzales) all support the housing needs of families by increasing fairness and representation in the eviction court process, reasonably limiting late fees, and allowing communities to create affordable housing so that all Colorado kids and families can stay in their homes. 
  • The 2019 “Home Equity: A Vision of Housing Security, Health and Opportunity” report from the Health Equity Advocacy Cohort – of which the Children’s Campaign is a member – and the Colorado Health Institute shows a direct connection between housing and health outcomes. This report outlines 11 promising policy ideas that might be implemented in Colorado. They range from local to state-level solutions, and include ways to correct policies that have created today’s inequitable systems. We support policies that let our neighbors live their healthiest lives regardless of ZIP code, ethnicity, or income.