Mar 27, 2024

Charles serves as CCLP's Income and Housing Policy Director using data and research to support our efforts to stand with diverse communities across Colorado in the fight against poverty. Staff page ›

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CCLP testifies in support of For Cause Eviction

by | Mar 27, 2024

On Wednesday, February 14, 2024, Charles Brennan provided testimony to the House Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee in support of House Bill 24-1098, Cause Required for Eviction of Residential Tenant, or For Cause Eviction. CCLP is in support of HB24-1098. 

 

Madam Chair and members of the committee, 

My name is Charles Brennan, the Director of Income and Housing Policy for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP). 

CCLP is a non-profit organization with the vision that every Coloradan should have what they need to succeed. I am here today to speak in support of House Bill 24-1098, the For Cause Eviction bill. 

We’re deeply concerned with the high cost of housing in Colorado, which undermines economic security for working families across our state. In 2021, a staggering 78% of renters with incomes at or below 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI) spent half of their income or more on housing costs. Given this data does not reflect our current challenges with inflation and housing costs, the situation for our most vulnerable renters has likely worsened since 2021. We’ve seen an increase in evictions to record numbers, highlighting the challenges faced by renters in finding a stable, affordable place to live. 

HB24-1098 does not directly tackle housing costs, but provides crucial protections to keep renters housed, especially our lowest-income renters who are significantly more likely to struggle with keeping up with the cost of rent, on top of their other expenses which have been growing too. Protections for these renters are extremely important, especially since there are just 26 affordable vacant and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households in Colorado. The scarcity of affordable housing is especially dire for these households. A retaliatory eviction or non-renewal of their lease leaves them with very few affordable housing options, if there are any at all in their community. 

This bill does not eliminate evictions but sets out fair and reasonable circumstances for when a landlord may proceed with one. For-cause eviction protections will prevent unfair or retaliatory evictions and non-renewal of leases, events that could lead a family from a stable home to homelessness through no fault of their own. I believe we all share the vision of an affordable, safe, and stable home for all Coloradans. HB24-1098 is a crucial tool among many we will need in our state to make this vision a reality. By protecting tenants from unjust evictions, it fosters housing security regardless of zip code, race, or income level.  

We respectfully urge your support for this bill to keep Coloradans housed. Thank you. 

Sincerely, 

Charles Brennan
Director of Income and Housing Policy
Colorado Center on Law and Policy

 

Update 4/19/2024: HB24-1098 was signed into law by the Governor on April 19, 2024.

Recent articles

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 2

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs. Part 2/2.

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 1

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs.

HEALTH:
HEALTH FIRST COLORADO (MEDICAID)

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.

FOOD SECURITY:
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)

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.

FOOD SECURITY:
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN (WIC)

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.

EARLY LEARNING:
COLORADO CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCCAP)

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.