Colorado Leaders Advocates Affordable Housing Solutions

State Leaders & Community Advocates Are Saying about New Laws Making Communities More Affordable, Expanding Access to Critical Behavioral Health Support

FORT COLLINS, CO (STL.News) In Fort Collins, Boulder, and Greeley, Governor Jared Polis joined bill sponsors and community leaders in housing, and behavioral health care providers to sign legislation saving Coloradans money on housing and critical behavioral health support, while cutting red tape to ensure Coloradans continue to receive high-quality, efficient services.

Here is what bill sponsors, affordable housing solutions advocates, and residents are saying about the new law empowering mobile home park residents (SB22-260) to convert their land into a resident-owned community, which the Governor is signing at Parklane Mobile Home Park in Fort Collins:

“Mobile home park ownership can change hands fairly quickly – leading to skyrocketing lot-rent prices and sometimes displacement of park residents,” said Rep. Andrew Boesenecker (D-Fort Collins), sponsor of SB22-160.  “This legislation invests critical resources to keep mobile homes affordable by empowering mobile homeowners to purchase the land their homes sit on.  Resident-owned communities are important for keeping Coloradans housed.”

“Mobile home owners have one foot in the American dream because unscrupulous, out-of-state corporations have bought up most of our state’s parks and have gouged rental rates on these hardworking Coloradans,” said Sen. Nick Hinrichsen (D-Pueblo), sponsor of SB22-160.  “That American dream has become destabilized and this new law puts power back in the hands of residents to own not just the building they live in, but the property they live on.  Homeownership is a key part of the American Dream and I’m proud to be a prime sponsor of this legislation.”

“I’ve lived at Parklane for 5 years and we are happy that SB22-160 is going to be signed here because we believe in the opportunity for residents of mobile home parks to own their neighborhoods.  We lived through the process of buying a Mobile Home Park, and we are very grateful to all the groups that are supporting us in this great achievement.  We believe in preserving mobile home parks, maintaining a fair rent, and more than ever we hope that the people who live in the mobile home park have the power to maintain and improve the community,” said Sabrina Montoya, Parklane Mobile Home Park Resident.  “This law is a legacy to new generations to fight in their mobile home park purchase process like we did at Parklane.  We want our story to inspire other mobile home park residents to buy, preserve, and improve their community, and we know this law is going to help people a lot.”

“This legislation gives us the opportunity to get ahead, will help us to have our own land, and help us continue to support other communities,” said Yenni, Parklane Mobile Home Park Resident.

“Elevation Community Land Trust is proud to support SB22-160, a historic investment in Colorado’s mobile home parks, the state’s only naturally occurring affordable housing,” said Stefka Fanchi, Chief Executive Officer, Elevation Community Land Trust.  “Mobile home park residents face an uphill battle when they try to purchase their land from park owners;  this legislation will help level the playing field.  We thank the Governor for his work on this issue and look forward to continuing to work together to improve mobile home park regulations in Colorado.”

“Colorado Poverty Law Project is ecstatic to see the State take such a bold step towards making community ownership of mobile home parks a more meaningful reality,”  said Jack Regenbogen, Policy & Advocacy Staff Attorney at Colorado Poverty Law Project.  “This legislation will bolster economic security by making the American Dream possible for tens of thousands of Coloradans who wish to purchase their park and assume greater ownership over their housing.  We commend the legislative sponsors for championing this important legislation and the Governor for his support.”

“AARP Colorado is pleased to see SB22-160 Loan Program Resident-owned Communities signed into law.  Providing funding to assist mobile homeowners seeking to purchase their homes preserves an existing stock of affordable housing and will help these older Coloradans continue to age in place,” said Allison Hiltz, MPP, State Advocacy Director of AARP Colorado.

“When area mobile home parks have gone up for sale there is some limited history of successful purchases of parks by residents in other parts of Colorado shows that the option can improve people’s lives.  We are grateful that this process may become a little easier with the passage SB 22-160, sponsored by Representative Boesenecker and other legislators, will create a bucket of up to $35 million in state seed money to be used for loans to help residents buy their parks.  This legislation signed into law by Governor Polis is another tool in the toolbox to preserve our region’s natural occurring affordable housing in Colorado,” said Jody Shadduck-McNally, Larimer County Commissioner.  “Locally we have taken action as Larimer County commissioners, and recently, we agreed to provide $1 million in county ARPA funds to United Neighbors/Vecinos Unidos, a nonprofit that represents the park’s residents to serve as a down payment to buy Parklane mobile home park.  Together, I hope that we can preserve and protect these communities with these new resources.”

Here’s what leaders are saying about a new law making significant investments in the regulation of tiny homes (HB22-1242) in Colorado, exempting tiny homes from sales and use tax to help more hardworking Coloradans benefit from this innovative housing solution and achieve greater representation for the tiny home industry:

“Tiny homes are just part of the all above approach Colorado needs to increase our supply of affordable housing.  I am excited that there will finally be a legal and safe path for owners of tiny homes on temporary foundations to live in their homes on a permanent basis,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp (D-Fort Collins), sponsor of HB22-1242.

“In the first few months of my term, residents in my district came to me with the issue of being forced to move out of a RV park with their tiny houses and nowhere legally to go. In the beginning I thought changing our land use code would provide a solution, but soon learned it was not legal in Colorado to live in a tiny home on a temporary foundation for more than 31 days at a time,” said Jody Shadduck-McNally, Larimer County Commissioner.  “However, we know people are living in these houses around our region.  As our affordable housing crisis in Colorado continues, we know people are turning to alternatives such as tiny houses for many reasons.  This bill provides a path to allow people to both legally and safely live in tiny homes on temporary foundations.  I am grateful to Representative Kipp, Senator Ginal for sponsoring this legislation along with the other sponsors, and for Governor Polis for signing HB 1242 into law.”

Here is what leaders are saying about legislation establishing a fair housing unit (HB22-1082) to support and protect Coloradans seeking housing opportunities across the state:

“Access to affordable housing and protection in all steps of the housing process are critical for all Coloradans,” said Boulder County Board of County Commissioners Chair Marta Loachamin.  “The Fair Housing Unit created by HB-1082, which Governor Polis signed into law today, will protect consumer rights for everyone, especially those historically excluded from or taken advantage of, in the Colorado housing market.  The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners is grateful to the Governor and the law’s sponsors, including Representative Edie Hooton, for creating these systematic protections.  Boulder County’s policy team has been working alongside our State representatives to inform these protections and our residents, and all Coloradans will now benefit from this work carried out by the Colorado legislature.”

“The Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NDC) thanks HB22-1082’s sponsors and Governor Polis for turning this bill into law.  Housing discrimination strengthens historic segregation patterns and widens our State’s wealth and housing stability gaps.  Codifying the Attorney General’s ability to root out housing discrimination brings Colorado closer to creating a level playing field for all,” said Jonathan Cappelli, Executive Director of Neighborhood Development Collaborative.

Gov. Polis is signing bipartisan bills to increase access to much-needed behavioral health to ensure all Coloradans have the support they need to thrive.

Here’s what behavioral health care leaders are saying about new laws to save mental health professionals money on licensing fees (HB22-1299), and provide critical behavioral health services for Colorado’s kids (SB22-147):

“Mile High Psychiatry would like to show our appreciation to the sponsors of SB22-147, Behavioral Health-care Services for Children and personally thank Senator Kolker, Senator Sonnenberg, Representative Young, and Representative Pelton.  Founded in Colorado and built for Coloradans, our organization is here to offer our complete support in this initiative.  Our ultimate goal is to offer accessible, affordable, quality care and prioritize the state of emergency in youth mental health here in our beautiful State of Colorado,” said Jessica Guenther, Chief Business Development Officer of Mile High Psychiatry.

“The School-Based Health Center Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is thrilled to receive this additional funding to support the state’s school-based health centers’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative public health impacts.  The CDPHE School-Based Health Center Program will use these funds to award grants to establish new school-based health centers and expand services of currently operating school-based health centers to expand access to this evidence-based model to more Coloradan children and families,” said Michelle Shultz, School-Based Health Center Program Manager at Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

“SB22-147 supports School-Based Health Centers to provide critical integrated behavioral health services that are imperative in addressing the current mental health crisis affecting our children and youth across Colorado,” said Ashley Coram, MPH, CHES, School-Based Health Clinics Program Manager at Every Child Pediatrics.