Working to support the needs of Coloradans through the pandemic and beyond

The dedicated staff of CCLP are working around the clock and in isolation during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure that decisions made by officials statewide and nationally do not further exacerbate the health and financial security of Coloradans facing poverty. Learn how you can support our work through this link.

Please refer to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website for objective updates, guidelines and resources regarding COVID-19. Gov. Jared Polis’ Get Help Now web portal also provides a number of resources for all Coloradans’ basic needs.

Basic needs resources

For people with housing security issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve reposted the Eviction Lab’s explanation of the CDC’s eviction moratorium with guidelines and resources.

The Center for Health Progress has compiled a list of clinics by region including contact information. You should only go to an emergency room if you think that you have an emergency.

CO-HELP, the Colorado Health Emergency Line for the Public, is a toll-free hotline set-up to provide information about COVID-19. Call 1-877-462-2911 with questions.

You can apply for Medicaid, Children’s Health Plan Plus and other public health plans through Colorado PEAK’s website.

Individuals can apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and special assistance for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) online through this link. People can get help connecting to food resources from Hunger Free Colorado’s Food Resource Hotline by calling 855-855-4626 (statewide) or 720-382-2920 (Denver-metro).

Developed by CCLP, this spreadsheet details health coverage changes in light of the coronavirus outbreak. It will be updated regularly.

People can apply for reduced-cost health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado through their website. Generally, enrollment in private health insurance is only available during open enrollment in December and January unless you have access to a special enrollment period because of a change to your job or household.

Apply for unemployment insurance online. As a result of high call volumes, the Department of Labor is asking that people with last names that start with A through M apply on Tuesday, Thursday, or Sunday after noon and that people with last names that start with M through Z apply on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday before noon. Private contractors, gig economy and seasonal workers not traditionally covered by unemployment will also receive emergency benefits under the CARES Act.

Out of work because of the COVID-19 crisis? There are options to provide health care and food while you find your bearings financially. Allison Summerton, a program manager at ConnectAurora, explains in this Aurora Sentinel op-ed.

Developed by CCLP’s Jack Regenbogen and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project as part of a webinar with the Colorado Poverty Law Project, this slide show introduces attorneys to the basic principles of landlord-tenant law, discusses the eviction process in Colorado, and provides up-to-date information on various local, state and federal moratoria.

As lawmakers considered deep budgetary cuts triggered by the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, CCLP published a 10-page analysis showing how the proposed cuts would have an adverse effect on health care access — particularly in rural parts of the state.

Other resources

In late July as the $600-dollar-a-week subsidy for unemployed workers was about to elapse, CCLP’s Charles Brennan published an issue brief making a case for why Congress should extend the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

We worked with our partners to develop A Colorado Tenants Guide to COVID-19. The document is designed to help tenants navigate conversations with their landlords, respond to eviction proceedings and seek out support. A Spanish translation of the guide is also available.

Our partners with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project compiled a dire forecast about the rise of evictions prompted by the COVID-19 crisis. The report was published by the Bell Policy Center.

Amid the economic turmoil triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, we have joined with more than 135 partners in co-signing a letter urging Colorado’s General Assembly to follow-through on a three-pronged plan to reduce drastic cuts in the state budget that would undermine the health and well being of Coloradans and their communities. Learn what you can do to help in our #RecoverCO Resources page.

The state of Colorado launched a new website, Help Colorado Now, for anyone looking to volunteer or donate to the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Our partners at Colorado Consumer Health Initiative established a Consumer Assistance Program that helps people understand how their health benefits work, navigate medical billing and claims issues, assist with appeals, enrollment problems, and help with complaints to the Division of Insurance, CDPHE, the Attorney General’s office and other agencies as needed. Clients can complete an inquiry form online or by calling 303-839-1261.

Learn what our coalition partners at the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger doing to address food security during the COVID-19 crisis on their website.

Our partners at The Bell Policy Center developed a hub for ideas, analysis and resources relevant to the immediate and future responses Colorado can undertake to respond to our changing environment.


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.