DENVER, CO – The House passed two bills today to support Colorado as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. The bills include an increase in funding for the 2-1-1 hotline, which has seen a spike in use due to the pandemic, and a bill to prohibit source of income discrimination in housing, which will protect the tens thousands of Coloradans who are newly claiming unemployment benefits.
“For many Coloradans, the 2-1-1 hotline was the first place they turned to for support with essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Marc Snyder, D-Manitou Springs, sponsor of HB20-1197. “This bipartisan bill will support the hotline through the end of the year to ensure that it can sustain the sharp increase in calls and continue to provide crucial support to Coloradans. ”
“With so many Coloradans claiming unemployment benefits after the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to prohibit discrimination based on source of income,” said Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB20-1332. “A dollar is a dollar, and no tenant should be denied housing for using the resources available to them to put a roof over their heads.”
“Well before this pandemic began, I had already heard from far too many Coloradans who faced unjust barriers while looking to rent a place to live,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, sponsor of HB20-1332. “Now that COVID-19 has forced tens of thousands of Coloradans onto unemployment insurance, it’s more important than ever to pass this bill banning discrimination based on source of income. We need to make sure that Coloradans are protected from this type of discmination while we work to get our state back on track and beyond.”
HB20-1197: Coronavirus Relief Funds for 2-1-1 Information Hotline (Reps. Marc Snyder and Janice Rich, Sen. Jeff Bridges): 2-1-1, Colorado’s free information hotline, is a critical service for many Coloradans and during the COVID-19 pandemic the line has seen a sharp increase in calls. The bill is will receive $500,000 of CARES Act funding to help expand services through December, including providing information on COVID-19 testing and referrals related to health care or employment discrimination as it relates to the pandemic.. The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 47-16.
HB20-1332: Prohibit Housing Discrimination based on Source of Income (Reps. Leslie Herod and Dominique Jackson, Sen. Rhonda Fields): This bill makes discrimination in housing based on a person’s source of income an unfair housing practice. As long as a person’s source of income is lawful and verifiable, including income from any government assistance, grant, or loan program, a landlord cannot refuse to show, rent or lease housing. This is especially important given the sharp increase in the number of Coloradans claiming unemployment benefits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed 39-25.