DENVER, CO — Governor Polis today signed three bills into law that will provide nearly $30 million in federal funds to support local government efforts to address homelessness; immediately invest $98.5 million in federal funds to construct nearly 7,000 affordable housing units; deploy $1.5 million in eviction legal defense funding; set aside $415 million in federal funds toward future affordable housing efforts; and provide tenants new protections and rights.
“We will not wait any longer to address Colorado’s housing crisis,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. “This legislature has made historic investments to make housing more affordable and provide shelter for individuals experiencing homlessness. We are immediately investing nearly $100 million to build nearly 7,000 affordable housing units, and we’re providing $30 million to local governments to help them purchase and convert underutilized properties to provide shelter or affordable housing.”
“Housing should be a human right in Colorado, but it’s way too hard for low and middle-income families to find an affordable place to live,” said Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver. “From the cost of rent to the price of buying a house or condo, it’s becoming more expensive to live in Colorado, and wages and salaries aren’t keeping up. Today, we’re giving local governments and legal aid organizations the tools they need to reduce homelessness and to provide due process in eviction court proceedings. We’re also setting up a responsible process for lawmakers to work alongside experts and community leaders to craft policies for the next legislative session that will invest $415 million to increase access to affordable housing across Colorado.”
SB21-242, sponsored by Representatives Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez and Steven Woodrow, provides $30 million in federal funding for grants and loans for local governments and nonprofits to purchase underutilized hotels, underutilized motels and other underutilized properties for the purpose of providing noncongregate shelter or affordable housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. Grant recipients are encouraged to invest in hotels and motels that are women and minority-owned, as well as those that are ADA compliant.
HB21-1329, sponsored by Representatives Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez and Steven Woodrow, channels $550 million in federal stimulus funds toward affordable housing efforts. It immediately invests $98.5 million of that funding to build nearly 7,000 housing units that will help Coloradans who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic obtain affordable housing. It also invests $1.5 million into the state’s Eviction Legal Defense grant program, doubling the state’s support to this program in order to protect tenants who might be facing eviction as the federal eviction moratorium comes to a close. The bill requires a broad and diverse stakeholder process during the interim that will develop and make recommendations to the General Assembly for how to allocate the remaining $415 million. The funds will be used on programs or services that address housing insecurity, a lack of affordable housing or homelessness, including construction of new affordable housing units, housing and rental assistance programs and supportive housing programs.
“Today, Colorado’s housing laws are more fair for renters and offer new protections that will help tenants avoid eviction,” said Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora. “The bill Governor Polis signed today will reduce frequent and astronomical rent increases that force people from their homes and provide renters with more time to avoid an eviction or put their effects in order before being removed from their homes.”
“No one should be left with just a few hours to pack all their belongings and move out of their home before law enforcement carries out an eviction,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora. “This new law offers tenants basic protections to help them avoid eviction or land back on their feet rather than putting them on a potential path to homelessness. The protections are critical for helping our state build back stronger and will help vulnerable people avoid losing the place where they live or be quickly priced out of their residences.”
HB21-1121, sponsored by Representatives Dominique Jackson and Iman Jodeh helps keep Coloradans housed and creates more fairness between landlords and tenants by providing renters with additional time before law enforcement can assist in an eviction. It also prohibits residential landlords from increasing rent more than once in a 12-month period and increases the notification timeline for rent increases when there is not a written lease.