Apr 18, 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 ›

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of Clean Slate updates

Bethany Pray, CCLP’s Chief Legal and Policy Officer, provided testimony in support of House Bill 24-1133, Criminal Record Sealing & Expungement Changes. CCLP is in support of HB24-1133, as it is one of our priority bills.

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 testifies in support of protections for DNC drivers

by | Apr 18, 2024

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, Charles Brennan, CCLP’s Income and Housing Policy Director, provided testimony to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee in support of House Bill 24-1129, Protections for Delivery Network Company Drivers. CCLP is in support of HB24-1129.

 

Madam Chair and Members of the Committee,

My name is Charles Brennan, the Income and Housing Policy Director for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. I am here today to speak in support of HB24-1129, a crucial bill for delivery network company (DNC) drivers.

The rising cost of living in our state is a pressing concern for all Coloradans. Expenses have outpaced the growth in wages over the past 20 years. Despite being at the peak of our recovery following the Great Recession, 25% of households in Colorado struggled to make ends meet in 2019[1]—a figure that has likely worsened since.

And costs are high for families. For instance, a family with one adult and two young children would need to earn at the very least $40.46 per hour working full time to meet the needs of the family in 2022, yet just two of the top ten most common occupations in the Denver metro area, based on employment, would have paid this parent a living wage. The median wage in 2022 was approximately $24.51 per hour across all jobs in the Denver areas included in government statistics.[2]

However, there is one group of workers we don’t know much about from government statistics: gig workers, like those who drive for DNCs. They are often not included in employment, wage, and other labor market statistics, leaving workers and advocates in the dark about the pay and working conditions of a growing share of our labor force.

A 2022 report by Colorado Jobs with Justice and Colorado Independent Drivers United found that the Denver-based drivers working for Door Dash earned a wage equivalent to $1.23 per hour after accounting for deadtime on the app and their personal expenses. Across all three of the platforms included in the study (DoorDash, Uber, and Lyft), the median driver took home $5.49 per hour. The median driver across all three apps, despite working full-time hours, fell far below the state’s minimum wage, leaving drivers who rely on this work as their primary source of income with very little to cover their own basic expenses, let alone support dependents (as many drivers do).[3]

HB24-1129 offers drivers with the transparency and stability they need to be able to budget for them and their family’s needs. By mandating reporting on earnings and expenses, and outlining clear deactivation policies, the bill empowers drivers with crucial information for financial planning and protects them from a sudden, unexpected loss of income.

HB24-1129 is a vital step towards ensuring fair treatment and economic security for DNC drivers and we urge your support for this bill. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

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

 

Update 5/4/2024:  HB24-1129 passed the House and Senate and is onto signatures!

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[1] https://copolicy.org/resource/overlooked-and-undercounted-2022/

[2] https://copolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/CO22_SSS.pdf

[3] http://www.cojwj.org/uploads/2/4/6/1/24613827/cjwj_white_paper_rd4.pdf

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of Clean Slate updates

Bethany Pray, CCLP’s Chief Legal and Policy Officer, provided testimony in support of House Bill 24-1133, Criminal Record Sealing & Expungement Changes. CCLP is in support of HB24-1133, as it is one of our priority bills.

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.

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.