Immigration status might no longer a factor in being eligible for housing assistance in Colorado
Garfield County residents may not have a legal immigration status, but they work and live in the county like everyone else.
The immigration status of Colorado residents could soon no longer factor into whether or not they are eligible for state and local housing assistance.
The bill was approved and sent to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk on April 5.
As of April 5, Polis had not signed the bill into law, which would go into effect immediately as a result.
The bill creates, unless otherwise required by federal law, a public or assisted housing benefit exception to the requirement that an applicant for federal, state, or local public benefits verify lawful presence in the United States, according to the bill summary.
Shelby Wieman, a spokeswoman for Polis’ Office, provided a statement on Polis’ intent to sign the bill into law.
“Housing stability is important to the health and prosperity of Colorado and Coloradans. Keeping families housed is key to everything from economic security to a thriving local economy. This is a great achievement driven by the partnership between my Office, the Department of Local Affairs, legislators, advocates, and so many others. We know that this bill will ensure our housing assistance programs reach all Coloradans in need, including many in our immigrant community.”
Alex Sánchez, Executive Director of Voces Unidas de las Montañas, an organization that advocates for the latino community, said the bill was one of several the organization has been lobbying for since last year.
“We have been meeting with the Governor’s office and the Latino Caucus at the legislature since April of 2020 to discuss how Latinos were being left behind because of the lawful presence requirement for rental assistance,” Sánchez said.
Sánchez said lobbyists are talking with the bill’s sponsor, District 34 Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Democrat from Denver, on ways to solve various community issues, including solutions in regards to housing and rental assistance.
“State programs are going to be able to give to all Colorado residents. For our community that’s the workforce,” Sánchez said.
“Aid for rental assistance, that’s what I’ve been focused on,” Sánchez. “We know affordable housing is needed and a lot of families are left out. My question is how many of our workers, the house keepers, dishwasher, cooks and the everyday worker are going to be able to afford $1,700 a month if you’re making $15 or $16 per hour?”
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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