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Affordable housing bill passes committee votes in Colorado State Legislature

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March 29, 2022, 4:42 pm

Colorado House Democrats on Tuesday issued the following press release on an affordable housing bill passing out of committees in both chambers of the state legislature:

Legislation to save people money on housing by building thousands more homes and expanding access to critical workforce housing today passed House and Senate Committees.

Dylan Roberts

“The lack of affordable housing is at a crisis level in Colorado, and I am so glad the state legislature is doing something to help increase affordable housing stock in our state,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, Chair of the Affordable Housing Transformational Task Force. “This historic, transformational legislation will provide nearly $180 million directly to local governments and nonprofits all across the state to construct thousands of new units and retain existing affordable housing for our teachers, our nurses, our first responders, and workers and families all over the state. This bill is part of the historic $400 million we are allocating this year for housing – the single largest investment the state has ever made to get homes built and drive down the cost of housing to save people money.” 

“As Colorado’s population continues to grow, we have to make sure communities have the land and resources required to develop affordable housing now and in the future,” said Sen. James Coleman, D-Denver. “Local governments and nonprofits are the experts when it comes to pinpointing their communities’ unique needs. That’s why this bill is targeted at uplifting their work and providing the necessary tools to achieve their housing development goals.” 

“Our state is growing, and we must make sure communities have the resources they need to keep pace,” said Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, Vice Chair of the Affordable Housing Task Force. “This bill will help local governments and nonprofits access the space and funding that communities need to equitably accommodate that growth. By helping communities increase their housing supply we can make sure every Coloradan has access to a home they can afford.” 

Nonprofit and Local Government Grants and Strong CommunitiesHB22-1304, sponsored by Representatives Dylan Roberts and Mary Bradfield and Senators James Coleman and Julie Gonzales, passed the House Transportation and Local Government Committee by a vote of 9-3. The bill invests $178 million, a historic sum, to provide direct, flexible, and timely grant funding to nonprofits and local governments all across the state that have or are pursuing measures to facilitate affordable housing development, including purchasing land. This includes development of supportive, rental, and for-sale housing targeted at populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The bill also makes a substantial investment for local communities to create strategic development patterns, including funding for infrastructure projects and updating land and use codes. 

The legislation will ensure flexibility of funding, including allowances for operating grants to community-based organizations and qualified local governments, particularly in small, rural, and mountain resort communities, so they can best meet their own development needs according to their community’s workforce and local economy. By building homes closer to where people work, the bill will also save Coloradans money on their transportation costs. 

“The housing crisis is impacting businesses large and small across the state, making it harder to attract workers and fill critical positions,” said Rep. Marc Snyder, D-Manitou Springs. “As part of our strategy to drive down the cost of housing and save people money, we will target resources to expand workforce housing for middle income Coloradans. This will build affordable places to live for workers in communities that are experiencing workforce housing shortages, which is becoming common in nearly every part of our state.” 

“Coloradans across the state are struggling to afford a place to live, and the time to act is now,” said Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada. “This bill will improve support systems for middle income families whose modest resources squeeze them between skyrocketing housing costs and ineligibility for assistance, save people money, and help more Colorado families thrive.” 

CHFA Middle Income Access Program: SB22-146, sponsored by Senators Rachel Zenzinger and Dennis Hisey and Representatives Marc Snyder and Marc Catlin, passed the Senate Local Government Committee by a vote of 5-0. The bill will expand critical workforce housing so that more Coloradans and communities have access to affordable housing that allows them to live in the communities where they work. 

The legislation provides $25 million for the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority’s Middle-Income Access Program, which finances projects to build housing for middle income families and individuals with incomes too high to qualify for low income housing tax credits but too low to afford market rates. Specifically, this funding will provide financing to developers seeking to build rental housing affordable to Coloradans earning 80 percent or more of the area median income through acquisition, new construction, or rehabilitation of existing properties. 

To date, the Middle Income Access Program has leveraged $14 million of CHFA-invested funds to support five developments comprising over 600 units. Developments leverage significant private sector investment and have brought much needed housing to communities such as Estes Park, Keystone, Steamboat Springs, Gypsum, and Denver. 

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