(May 17) – A package of bills that will make substantial investments in Colorado’s affordable housing challenge were signed into law today in Westminster. Together, these bills account for a historic investment in affordable housing in Colorado. Affordable housing is one of the state’s most pressing issues and finding common-sense solutions to addressing the housing crunch has long been a priority for Democratic lawmakers.
The first bill signed by the Governor was HB19-1228, Rep. Shannon Bird and Rep. Brianna Titone’s bill to boost the supply of affordable housing in the state by increasing the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, which helps leverage private funding for affordable housing projects across the state.
“The unique benefit of the tax credit is that it is part of a solution, rather than a band-aid, to concerns we have about keeping people out of poverty, breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty and giving a critical hand up – instead of a hand out,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “ I feel honored to have sponsored this important piece of legislation that will help ensure that more working families will have a safe, quality, affordable place to call home.”
“We need to help ease the housing crunch. This bill will help seniors and hardworking people across our state,” Rep. Titone, D-Arvada said when the bill passed the House. “Access to affordable housing can help grow the middle class and our economy which will give back to Colorado in a lot of different ways. This bill has no district boundaries. Affordable housing is needed everywhere across the state.”
Affordable Housing Tax Credit raises private sector equity needed to support the development and preservation of affordable rental housing. It currently is authorized to allocate only $5 million; HB19-1228 will increase the available tax credits to $10 million in 2020-24. The Affordable Housing Tax Credit supports key affordable housing needs such as workforce housing, homeless housing, and senior housing across Colorado. It’s one of the state’s most effective tools for increasing available affordable housing across the state. Colorado’s
Between 2015-2018, the program supported 4,796 affordable rental units. The development of these homes is estimated to have generated over $1.9 billion in economic impact in Colorado.
The Governor also signed HB19-1245, sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, which will contribute more funding to the Housing Development Grant Fund within the Department of Local Affairs. The funding could then be used to improve, preserve, or expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado.
“This new law is a significant and meaningful approach to address the state’s affordable housing crisis,” said Rep. Weissman. “Housing can strengthen a person’s ability to support a family, maintain a job and live a healthy life. This law is a calibrated approach that will benefit all of Coloradans – especially our most vulnerable families and individuals.”
Under current law, a business can keep 3.3 percent of sales tax that it collects for administration purposes. With this new bill, vendors can retain up to four percent of the vendor fees up to a $1,000 monthly cap. This minor statutory change will result in roughly $23 million in revenue in the first year and $45-50 million per year afterwards. A third of these funds would be used to provide affordable housing to low income families.
Next on the docket was HB19-1322, sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, and Rep Perry Will, R-New Castle. This important new law will expand funding for affordable housing statewide. Under this bill, money will come from the State Treasurer from the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund and be deposited into the Housing Development Grant Fund to supplement existing money.
“This new bipartisan law is a responsible way to support affordable housing. It will allow our local communities to decide what is best for them and land support for important projects from the state,” said Rep. Roberts. “Housing is one of the most important issues across the state and this law focuses our rural communities who need help and ensures the state is a strong partner in the effort to support affordable housing projects.”
The Governor also signed HB19-1319 sponsored by Rep. Bird. This new law creates incentives to assist land developers in providing affordable housing statewide, and also identify undeveloped land owned by the state that could be developed for affordable housing purposes.