Apr 25, 2023

An expert in policy advocacy and coalition building, Chaer has dedicated her career to helping people meet their basic needs and expanding economic opportunity. She serves on the executive committee of the All Families Deserve a Chance (AFDC) coalition. Staff page ›

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Protections for residential tenants

by | Apr 25, 2023

On Tuesday, April 11, 2023, Chaer Robert, CCLP’s Legislative Director, provided testimony to the Senate Local Government & Housing Committee for Senate Bill 23-184, Protections for Residential Tenants. CCLP is in support of SB23-184.

 

I am Chaer Robert, Legislative Director for Colorado Center on Law and Policy. We stand with communities across Colorado against poverty.  

We support Senate Bill 23-184 – Protections for Residential Tenants. 

 

Currently, many landlords require a tenant demonstrate income of 3 times the amount of rent. If a landlord in Colorado were to limit tenants to those who paid not more than 30% of income to rent in 2021, they would exclude 55.8% of renters (who paid more than 30% of their income on rent that year.) 

A person working 40 hours at Colorado minimum wage makes $2,371 a month. If a prospective tenant must make 3 times the income, they could only rent an apartment for less than $790 a month. 

Approximately 87,507 Coloradans receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits per month, which is 1.5% of the state’s population. The average SSDI payment is $1,430 per month. Therefore, an individual receiving SSDI could only qualify for rent of $476 per month. 

66,926 Coloradans received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), approximately 1% of the state’s population. The average SSI check is $914 per month, so SSI recipients could only qualify for a unit that rents for less than $305 per month. 

Less than 25% of those qualified for subsidized housing are able to get subsidized housing. 

Due to immense lack of affordable housing in most parts of Colorado, low-income renters often spend more than half their income on rent. 

 

Here are some key findings from CCLP’s 2022 Issue Brief: Colorado is losing low-cost rental housing: 

  • Between 2010 and 2019, Colorado lost 41.2% of rental units with rents under $600. This housing would be considered affordable to households earning up to $24,000 in 2019. That year, 23.0% of renter households had incomes below $24,000 in Colorado. 
  • Low-cost rental housing represented 10.1% of Colorado’s rental housing stock in 2019, down from 19.5% in 2010.
  • Only 5.9% of rental units built in Colorado since 2010 had rents under $600. 66.1% of rental units built since then had rents between $1,000 and $1,999.
  • 33.4% of rental units in rural counties in Colorado had rents under $600 in 2019 compared to 9.7% of rental units in urban counties. Urban counties accounted for 93.6% of the net loss in Colorado’s stock of low-cost rental units between 2010 and 2019.
  • While all regions of the state saw net losses of low-cost rental units, the fastest losses were experienced in urban Front Range regions. The Denver Metro region alone accounted for 60.0% of the net loss in low-cost units between 2010 and 2019.
  • 16 of Colorado’s 64 counties saw net gains in their stock of low-cost rent housing between 2010 and 2019, led by Rio Grande, Archuleta, Moffat, Clear Creek, and Costilla counties. The 16 counties saw a net gain of 1,727 units with rents below $600. However, the remaining 48 counties saw net losses of 91,099 units. 

While it is not ideal to pay more than 30% of income for rent, for many renters, that is how they stay housed when most of the state has very high rents: by prioritizing rent payment first.  

 

Please support SB23-184. Thank you. 

 

Sincerely,

Chaer Robert

Legislative Director

Colorado Center on Law and Policy

 

SB23-184 passed the Colorado Legislature and awaiting the Governor’s signature!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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