Mar 20, 2015


Recent articles

Mile High Connects Advisory Council

by | Mar 20, 2015

Welcome to all of our Advisory Council members! This group is comprised of thought leaders from a variety of disciplines from the Metro Denver region that will learn about different issues related to our work as well as provide input and strategic guidance on critical topics central to the collaborative.

Brian Allem, Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council
Joe Anzures, State Independent Living Council
Veronica Barela, NEWSED Community Development Corporation
Amy Beres, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Foundation
Ryan Billings, City of Denver, Public Works
Kay Boeke, The Colorado Health Foundation
Hank Braaksma, Seniors’ Resource Center
Laura Brudzynski, City of Denver, City Council
Brad Calvert, Denver Regional Council of Governments
Craig Carlson, Adams County Housing Authority Board
Chris Connor, Denver’s Road Home
Audrey DeBarros, 36 Commuting Solutions
Brian Duffany, Economic and Planning Systems
Rob DuRay, Colorado Civic Engagement Roundtable
Jose Esparza, West Community Economic Development Corp.
John Fernandez, City of Aurora, Planning and Development Services
Olga Garcia, Denver Health and Hospital Authority
Rick Garcia, US Department of Housing and Urban Development
Fred Glick, Independent Consultant
Meg Griffin, Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council
Ismael Guerrero, Denver Housing Authority
Gabriel Guillaume, LiveWell Colorado
Wendy Hawthorne, Groundwork Denver
Carol Hedges, Colorado Fiscal Institute
Eugene Howard, Douglas County Transportation
Bill James, James Real Estate Services, Inc.
Marvin Kelly, Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corp.
Carl Koelbel, Koelbel and Company
Steve Kunshier, Adams County Housing Authority
Heather Lafferty, Habitat for Humanity
Mickki Langston, Mile High Business Alliance
Jill Locantore, WalkDenver
Sheila Lynch, Tri-County Health Department
Carrie Makarewicz, University of Colorado Denver, College of Architecture and Planning
Molly Markert, City of Aurora, City Council
Ryan McCaw, MetroWest Housing Solutions
Robert McGranaghan, University of Colorado, Community Campus Partnership
Michelle Mitchell, Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation
Erin Mooney, Community Enterprise
Mayor Bob Murphy, City of Lakewood
Skip Noe, City of Aurora, City Manager
Yael Nyholm, Radian Inc.
Drew O’Connor, Drew O’Connor Facilitation, LLC
Councilwoman At-Large Debbie Ortega, Denver City Council
Cec Ortiz, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado
Deirdre Oss, City of Denver, Community Planning and Development
Rick Padilla, City of Denver, Office of Economic Development
Chuck Perry, Perry Rose LLC
Emma Pinter, City of Westminster, City Council
Lyz Riley, LiveWell Northeast Denver
Kenneth Rosenblum, Community Member, Veteran
David Ruchman, Jefferson County Local Coordinating Council
Ron Ruggiero, SEIU Local 105
Jamie Skaronea, Adams County School District 50
Bill Sirois, Regional Transportation District
Abram Sloss, Denver Metro Small Business Development Center and Chamber of Commerce
Rob Smith, Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute
Ken Snyder, PlaceMatters
Vivian Stovall, Volunteer Community Resource Specialist
Paul Teske, University of Colorado Denver
Tasha Weaver, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority
Katrina Wert, Center for Workforce Initiatives
Karen Worminghaus, eGo Car Share
Cassie Wright, Urban Ventures

Recent articles


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.