May 4, 2016

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Recent articles

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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.

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.

MHC Updates

by | May 4, 2016

Regional Call to Action Brings Community Together Around Gentrification and Displacement

On April 19th nearly 200 participants came together, unified by a common concern about the lack of affordability in Denver and ready to delve into ways to work together to stem the tide of gentrification and displacement across the region.

An all-star group of speakers included Holliday Aguilar (GES), Norma Brambila (Westwood), Maria Ceballos (Arvada), Yolanda McCloud (Aurora), Teresa Valdivia (GES) and Darrell Watson (Whittier) sharing their on-the ground experiences around gentrification and displacement in their own communities. These neighborhood leaders were joined by HUD Regional Administrator Rick Garcia, Denver City Council President Paul Lopez, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Brough, ULC Director of Master Site Development Will Kralovec and Servicios de la Raza Executive Director Rudy Gonzales, who provided their own perspectives around why these issues are critical to the health and economic vibrancy of the region.

MHC also released their new Access to Opportunity Platform, which captures 10 recommendations based on national best practice and a set of concrete policy and implementation strategies under each recommendation vetted for their relevance and applicability at a Denver regional level.

The next convening, moving to action, will be May 7th from 9am – 12pm at United Church of Montbello  (4879 Crown Blvd.). All are welcome. Click here for invitation.


Exploring Connections Between Anchor Institutions Near Transit

Mile High Connects, The Denver Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation and Gary Community Investments co-hosted a learning session with over 20 CEOs and high level leaders of anchor institutions in the fields of health care, education and government located near transit throughout the region.

National speaker Steve Dubb of the Democracy Collaborative described the potentially transformative role of anchor institutions in connecting with community, creating job opportunities for local workers, supporting local business through procurement and investing in community development. The Denver Foundation’s investments in the Community Campus Partnership and Regis University anchor institution efforts were also highlighted. Ten institutions in attendance signed on to continue the conversation.

Those interested in learning more should contact Dace West at dwest@denverfoundation.org.


MHC Grant Fund

We are excited to release our funding guidelines for the Equitable Initiatives in The Denver Region grant fund for 2016. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2016, 5:00 MT.

We will offer one more grant application workshop in 2016. Workshops are open to organizations and groups interested in learning more about the application process; please note that attending a grant workshop is not a requirement of the overall grant application process. Please RSVP to Davian Gagne, Grants & Operations Manager at dgagne@denverfoundation.org with your name and contact information of staff members interested in attending. Click here for the application.

  • Thursday, May 5, 2016 | 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm | UFCW Union Hall | 7760 West 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge

Affordable Housing 

Renter’s Rights

9to5 transit organizer Dre Chiriboga-Flor went on a retreat to Chicago to share ideas and tactics around anti-gentrification strategies. Over 50 most grassroots organizations from about 37 different cities, including cities in Canada and Spain, came together for 3 days. Topics including building intersectional movements on a national level, renter’s rights campaigns such as Just Cause Eviction and Rent Control, community land trusts, development without displacement, eviction defense, corporate landlords and more. Participants walked away with countless new networks, campaign models, and a sense of community on a national level.

Grand Opening of Park Hill Station

On Thursday, April 21, developer DelWest hosted the Grand Opening of Park Hill Station, a 156-unit affordable rental community along the new University of Colorado A Line running between Union Station and DIA.  A variety of MHC partners were instrumental in this success – the Urban Land Conservancy acquired the property several years back utilizing the Denver Regional TOD Fund, which is administered by Enterprise Community Partners and includes a multitude of MHC partners as investors.  MHC partner Wells Fargo was also the equity investor in the development of the building, purchasing the Low Income Housing Tax Credits.  CBS news picked up the story here.

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Park Hill Station

Capital Absorption

MHC hosted a series of meetings on April 26 and 27 designed to increase the flow of public, private, and philanthropic capital into affordable housing and community facilities near transit. Over 30 representatives organized into teams from seven different municipalities throughout the region gathered to identify shared priorities, talk through pipelines of emerging developments, and discussed policy and financial solutions that might move those pipelines from ideas into action. The following morning, a team of impact investors ranging from public agencies to local foundations to banks and CDFIs discussed how we might work together to develop a couple specific scalable financial tools to accelerate the development and preservation of affordable housing and community-focused commercial facilities. Both discussions left MHC and our many partners with several concrete ideas to move forward this year!


First and Last Mile Connections 

Based on the nomination from Mile High Connects, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) selected Comunidades Unidos as a recipient of the 2016 Metro Vision Award. DRCOG Vice Chair and Aurora City Councilman Bob Roth presented the award at DRCOG’s annual awards celebration, April 27 at the Westin Denver International Airport. Several members of the community attended the ceremony through the sponsorship of the National Western Stockshow.

According to DRCOG, Comunidades Unidos was selected because of the inspirational nature of its work. In partnership with GES LiveWell and MHC, Comunidades Unidas trained residents to conduct an audit and analysis of bus routes and bus-stop conditions. The results helped community members prioritize and advocate for improvements through public planning processes and directly with transportation and government entities. The community successfully garnered commitments in excess of $600,000 to improve infrastructure. Beyond the improvements to transit access and facilities, the project has empowered the community to address challenges and created a legacy of civic involvement for its residents.

Through its Metro Vision Awards, DRCOG recognizes the projects, plans and programs that significantly improve the quality of life in the Denver region and its communities; according to its member governments’ shared vision for growth and development. The regional council has been honoring outstanding achievements for more than 30 years.

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Comunidades Unidos Members

 


PLACES Site Visit

Davian Gagne, Grants & Operations Manager, recently visited Minneapolis, Minnesota as part of The Funders Network Professionals Learning About Community, Equity, and Smart Growth (PLACES) fellowship program. Along with leaders from the Surdna Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, San Diego Foundation, and many other philanthropic organizations, Davian spent three days learning about the opportunities, challenges, and work of local foundations and nonprofits in Minneapolis. Kate Wolford, CEO of the McKnight Foundation, spent time with the group sharing the work of the foundation and their collaborative approach to projects such as the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. During a tour of north Minneapolis, leaders from the Hmong and Black communities, organizers, and community members highlighted the assets and stark challenges of the predominantly low-income neighborhood. Through a new funders collaborative, the Northside Funders Group, initiatives are being implemented in north Minneapolis to interrupt the 50% unemployment rate of Black men there by enhancing job skills and connecting residents to workforce opportunities. The three days provided insight on equity, illustrated the continued impact of systemic racism, and provided the foundation for the remainder of the fellowship. The next visit will be in late June 2016 to Hartford, Connecticut where more learning and capacity building around equitable community development will take place. 

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Tour of West Broadway in Minneapolis

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.

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.

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.