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Habitat’s Legislative Build Day: Lawmakers hammering out much more than policy

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June 25, 2019, 5:52 pm
Gypsum’s Stratton Flats (Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley).

State Rep. Dylan Roberts, an Avon resident, will be among 20 government officials swinging hammers for Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley’s Legislative Build Day on Thursday.

“I am very excited to get back to Habitat for Humanity and do some building with them,” said Roberts, a Democrat who represents Eagle and Routt counties in the Colorado Legislature. “Habitat is a crucial organization in ensuring that more Eagle County residents and families can realize the dream of an affordable place to live in our community, and it provides a way for homeowners to connect with community members as they build their home and their lives here.”

Roberts will be joined by state Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Democrat who lives in Vail, at a Habitat project in Gypsum’s Stratton Flats neighborhood. The two local state lawmakers will be part of a group of 20 government officials from Eagle County and towns up and down the Vail Valley.

The Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley event is part of a coordinated statewide effort with 13 other Habitat affiliates across Colorado hosting Legislative Build Days and a national Habitat “Cost of Home” campaign. It’s a hands-on learning opportunity for politicians and government officials and a celebration of state affordable housing successes this past legislative session.

“]Habitat was] crucial in helping me pass one of my biggest bills of the year, HB19-1322, which will help support Habitat projects and other affordable housing projects across the state, particularly in our mountain communities where the cost of living is much higher than the state average,” Roberts said. “That bill will allow the state to be a significant partner with organizations like Habitat to increase the supply of affordable and attainable housing.”

Besides Roberts’ HB19-1322, which he sponsored, HB 19-1245 also targeted funding sources for affordable and workforce housing projects – potentially generating up to $156 million in housing investments over the next three years.

“We are grateful for the hard work done this legislative session to increase the statewide funding for affordable housing, but our work is not done yet,” Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley Development Director Elyse Howard said in a press release. “Without additional policy changes, families in Eagle County will continue to make difficult choices between housing and paying for food, bills, education and other necessities.”

Habitat’s national Cost of Home campaign, which is aimed at improving home affordability for 10 million people in the U.S. over the next five years, will “identify and improve policies and systems through coordinated advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels.”

More information about Habitat’s Cost of Home policy platform is available at habitat.org/costofhome. For more information or to speak to Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley about the local campaign, contact Howard at elyse@habitatvailvalley.org or (970) 748-6718.

Habi-Facts from the Habitat for Humanity of Colorado 2018 Impact Study

• 94% of homeowners felt their lives had improved since moving into their Habitat home.

• Two-thirds of Habitat homeowners expect their children will earn a bachelor’s degree or greater.

• 90% saw an improvement in their family’s health since becoming a Habitat homeowner.

• Habitat for Humanity supports 539 jobs with $28.4 million in paychecks for Coloradans.

• Homeowners reported significantly less use of public assistance after moving into a Habitat house. In 2018, the reduction in Medicaid and CHP+ led to substantial taxpayer savings, nearly $600,000.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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