Oct 21, 2020

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of TANF grant rule change

CCLP's Emeritus Advisor, Chaer Robert, provided written testimony in support of the CDHS rule on the COLA increase for TANF recipients. If the rule is adopted, the cost of living increase would go into effect on July 1, 2024.

CCLP’s legislative watch for April 5, 2024

For the 2024 legislative session, CCLP is keeping its eye on bills focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, preserving affordable communities, advocating for progressive tax and wage policies, and reducing health care costs.

CCLP honors Colorado Champions of Economic Justice & Equity recipients

CCLP’s Colorado Champions of Economic Justice & Equity Award recipients will be honored during our Communities Against Poverty virtual event from noon to 1 p.m., Nov. 19. Details on the event, registration and sponsorship are available here.

Every year since 2013, Colorado Center on Law and Policy has honored a legislator and a community advocate with its Champions of Economic Justice Awards, recognizing Coloradans’ contributions to our mission. For 2020, we doubled the number of awards given to Coloradans who stand with us and diverse communities in the fight against poverty. Along with a Legislator and a Community Advocate, we’ve added a Government Partner and a Community Partner Organization to the mix. The recipients will be officially honored at CCLP’s Communities Against Poverty virtual event, Nov. 19.

The CCLP staff discussed nominees during staff meetings earlier this month and reached a consensus on three individuals and one nonprofit organization.

This year’s Colorado Champions of Economic Justice & Equity Award will be:

Legislator: Sen. Julie Gonzales
Elected to Colorado State Senate in 2018, Sen. Julie Gonzales made her mark as a community organizer fighting to bring about justice before her political career began.

The sixth of seven children in her family, Sen. Gonzales was born in Arizona and raised in south Texas, Gonzales’ mother was an elementary school teacher and her father was a rancher and medical cannabis producer. Shortly after graduating from Yale University she moved to Denver, where she had previously spent summers in high school working to save for college. As community organizer, she advocated for the DREAM Act and on immigration issues as Policy Director for Meyer Law Firm.

She has played an integral role in passing in-state tuition for Colorado Dreamers, ensuring that all students receive high-quality college preparatory education, and passing Denver’s sanctuary policy to protect immigrant communities. She sponsored a wide variety of legislation in 2020 on immigration, criminal justice issues and consumer protections.

In particular, CCLP recognizes Sen. Gonzales’ strong leadership on housing assistance for tenants at risk of eviction (2020’s House Bill 1410) as well as successfully working to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for struggling families.

Community Partner: 9to5 Colorado
Part of a national organization of working women founded in Boston in 1973, 9to5 Colorado has fought and won many policy victories that have made a lasting change for Colorado women and their families.

In advocacy circles, 9to5 is known for their integrity, their fearlessness, their compassion, their unrelenting dedication and their commitment to racial and economic equity. This year, their work on paid family leave, rental late fees, and the bills to reform the Mobile Home Park Act, demonstrates their breadth of expertise and the depth of their political courage.

They have immense integrity and are willing to fight for meaningful progress even when it has been incredibly difficult. They are also fantastic partners and have gone above-and-beyond in offering support to CCLP and other organizations.

9to5 Colorado embodies the best in how robust grassroots organizing can compel and drive institutional changes. The people of Colorado have benefitted immensely from their advocacy.

Government Partner: Marivel Klueckman, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance (HCPF)
As HCPF’s Eligibility Division Director since 2012, Marivel presides over a complex eligibility system that undergoes constant change and development — due to often dramatic shifts in federal and state policies and requirements. In managing these daunting tasks, she works with eligibility staff both in Denver and in counties throughout Colorado.

A native Coloradan, Marivel’s parents emigrated from Mexico, and in her words, “has the pleasure of having that cultural background.” The mother of two sons, she passionate about her family and about her work.

Collaboration is key in all that she does, and that’s a constant both when dealing with new policies and when working with organizations like CCLP. Her staff is notably diverse and she does an exceptional job at retaining and developing talent. Marivel says she makes sure to find individuals who can relate to the experience of Medicaid clients, and identifying those who want to make a difference over the long-term.

She got her start in as a bilingual customer service representative for CHP+ in 2000, and really values having had that direct contact with individuals, though she also appreciates being able to have a larger scale impact in her current position.

Community Advocate: Karla Gonzales Garcia, COLOR
Karla is champion for people and for communities that have experienced traumas of violence and oppression. In her native Peru, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Karla counseled child victims of sexual assault and worked to support kindergarteners with learning disabilities.

After moving to the United States, Karla continued advocating for survivors of intimate partner violence and for the rights of immigrants and their families. Guided by her commitment to social and racial justice, Karla obtained a second degree in women and gender studies at Colorado State University –overcoming the challenges of pursuing a degree in her second language.

In her current role as the Policy Director at the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Karla is a force for equity. She models for advocates, lobbyists and legislators what it means to root systems-change work in core values for human dignity and justice.

Staff at CCLP were honored and inspired to work closely with Karla on Senate Bill 215, which dedicates state funding to make affordable health insurance options available to people who have been denied access to health care because of their immigration status.

We’ve been inspired and encouraged by Karla’s work, and we are honored to recognized her with this award.

Again, congratulations to these outstanding individuals and organizations!  CCLP is honored to honor your important work and to stand alongside you in fighting for racial equity and against poverty.

— By CCLP staff

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of TANF grant rule change

CCLP's Emeritus Advisor, Chaer Robert, provided written testimony in support of the CDHS rule on the COLA increase for TANF recipients. If the rule is adopted, the cost of living increase would go into effect on July 1, 2024.

CCLP’s legislative watch for April 5, 2024

For the 2024 legislative session, CCLP is keeping its eye on bills focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, preserving affordable communities, advocating for progressive tax and wage policies, and reducing health care costs.


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.