Transportation Committee Advances Proposals to Support Foster Kids and Improve Affordable Housing Solutions

DENVER, CO– The Transportation and Local Government Committee today advanced two bills to give foster youth the opportunity to obtain drivers licenses and to update the Division of Housing’s responsibilities to better allow the state to tackle the issue of housing in Colorado. 

HB21-1084, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Transportation and Local Government Chair Tony Exum, takes several steps to help foster youth in Colorado learn to drive and obtain drivers licenses. It would ensure that counties are reimbursed for the cost of sending foster youth aged 15 to 21 to driver’s ed courses and would remove legal barriers preventing counties and foster youth advocates from teaching foster youth how to drive. Finally, it eases requirements on the types of documentation foster youth must provide when applying for a driver permit or license. The bill passed committee by a vote of 11-0.

“Creating a pathway for foster youth to obtain a driver’s license is about giving hope to kids who have so much more to deal with than the average teen,” said Rep Exum Sr. (D-Colorado Springs). “We should strive to guarantee that every child in Colorado has equal opportunity to succeed, and ensuring that foster children are able to learn how to drive goes a long way towards leveling the playing field. From getting to and from work, or to and from school, driving can truly make a lasting and important impact on a teenager’s life.”    

HB21-1009, sponsored by Representative Tracey Bernett is a bipartisan measure that makes several updates to the responsibilities of the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing to better provide housing solutions for communities across Colorado. The bill, among other things, improves confidentiality for recipients of housing assistance, helps reduce energy costs, and incentivises housing development in areas where people work, go to school and have access to transportation. The bill passed committee by a vote of 10-1. 

“This straightforward bill will prepare the Division of Housing to continue working on affordable housing solutions for years to come,” said Rep. Tracey Bernett (D-Longmont). “By making necessary updates and modifications, this bill will empower local communities across Colorado and allow them to continue thoughtfully increasing the quality and equity of our housing solutions while working towards our climate goals.”