One of our priority bills, HB24-1007 Prohibit Residential Occupancy Limits, was heard in the Transportation, Housing & Local Government House Committee today. Voces Unidas actively lobbies for pro-immigrant, and pro-Latino policies. Below is our testimony.
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Good afternoon Madam Chair and Members of the Transportation, Housing & Local Government Committee:
My name is Kayla Frawley and I am the Director of Policy and Advocacy for Voces Unidas. I am here today to express our support and ask you to vote YES on HB 24-1007 Prohibit Residential Occupancy Limits. We are particularly happy that mobile park homes are included in the bill.
Voces Unidas is a multi-entity Latino-created and Latino-led organization that advocates for public policy with direct impact on rural Latinas and Latinos in the central mountain region. Our work is informed by the largest annual poll of Latino voters in the state that identifies Latino policy preferences by region and congressional district. This is how we know that affordable housing has consistently ranked among the highest priorities for the Latino community in Colorado – now three years in a row.
The Colorado Latino Policy Agenda showed that Latinos are being disproportionately impacted and displaced by rising rents in our communities, given that 66% of Latino voters experienced a rise in their rent last year. In 2023, 80% of Latinos polled said that they want the state to take action on housing, including 85% who said they want housing near jobs, schools and services. Passing HB24-1007 is one of the multiple steps needed to resolve our ongoing housing crisis through solutions that allow our communities to live and thrive close to where they work.
This bill would help prevent discrimination in housing and reduce the limited housing options for Latinos in the central mountain region. Given the limited affordable housing options for working families in rural Colorado, many members of our communities are forced to commute one to two hours each way, across multiple counties and over dangerous high-mountain passes, to simply go to work in surrounding resort towns like Breckenridge, Vail or Aspen to pursue less expensive rents, mostly in mobile home parks. Limited housing stock, long waiting lists, and unrealistic monthly prices for rental units regularly price working Latinos out of the market, often forcing them to live and work in different counties or requiring multiple generations and multiple families to live under one roof.
With housing being so unaffordable, we need pathways for living arrangements that are economical as we continue to address the rising cost of rent and low wages that aren’t keeping up with inflation. This bill allows for increased occupancy in residential areas. As housing remains in short supply and the increasing cost of rent continues to outpace wages in the high country and throughout the state, HB24-1007 will offer Coloradans additional housing opportunities. We strongly urge you to vote YES.
Thank you, and happy to answer any questions.
Kayla Frawley, Voces Unidas.