Jul 26, 2022

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Affordable Housing Policy Forum Recap, Part 3: Attendee Questions & Resources

by | Jul 26, 2022

Questions and topics raised at the event 

Due to the rapid evolution of conversations at the event in multiple formats, and the wonderful volume of interaction among attendees, many ideas, questions, and observations were raised over the course of the event. The following questions, paraphrased for brevity and format consistency, are our attempt to capture just some of the breadth of the event and to elevate the many contributions of the community members who took part. We apologize for any misinterpretation of questions asked or issues raised. 

 Zoning & Development 

  • How can we create mixed-use housing for everyone? 
  • How can we make better use of space in our cities? 
  • Why is there often such a strong negative reaction by potential neighbors to siting affordable housing developments nearby? 
  • How can we do zoning change in a way that results in duplexes and triplexes being built evenly across the city, not only in neighborhoods that have cheaper land because of redlining history? In other words, how do we “up-zone” equitably? 
  • How can we incentivize developers to transform vacant office buildings into SRO (single-room occupancy) housing? 
  • How do we increase affordable housing opportunities in rural communities? 

Housing Trends 

  • How can we break down the commodification of housing? 
  • How do we better prepare for and accommodate population growth in our state? 
  • How might we prohibit large corporations from purchasing affordable homes and converting them to expensive rentals? 
  • How has the Poundstone Amendment impacted housing in the Denver area? 
  • How can we better align the Housing and Urban Development voucher with the Denver market so that landlords will accept it? 

Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities 

  • How can we increase affordable housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities? 
  • How can we advocate “desire priority” for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to enable more opportunities for supportive housing and integrated communities? 
  • What are the pros and cons of individualized versus congregate residences for people with various disabilities? 

Alternative Living Arrangements 

  • Are there any organizations in Colorado working towards kibbutzim-style communities? 
  • How can we develop inclusive housing for all groups, including options like the Second Chance Centers for people leaving incarceration? 
  • How might we better address equity through shared living arrangements? 

Permanent Public Housing 

  • Some Scandinavian countries have worked to create permanent safe housing for all. How can we create safe housing options from birth to death? 
  • How might Denver or surrounding cities realistically build social housing (such as publicly owned, mixed income, large apartment complexes)? 


Resources shared by attendees via chat 

We are also grateful for the many interesting resources shared by our attendees on affordable housing topics. 


For Part 1: The Event, ARPA, & more, read here.

For Part 2: ADUs, mobile homes, rent stabilization, and new development, read here.

Read more about affordable housing bills passed in 2022 in our Housing Legislation list here.

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To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.


Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.