United Way of Larimer County is committed to addressing today’s greatest needs—and reducing tomorrow’s. As an organization, we are learning that reducing the needs of tomorrow requires policy change. Building capacity in the nonprofit sector and funding high-impact human service programs is not enough. We must center equity and systems change to truly reduce tomorrow’s needs.
Over the past year, we have been leaning into our commitment to public policy by strengthening our Public Policy Committee. The need for affordable housing and accessible child care is growing—and so is our commitment to systems-level change.
The Colorado Health Foundation 2022 Pulse survey revealed that 86% of Coloradoans consider the rising cost of housing to be a “serious concern.” The average home cost now exceeds $500,000 in Larimer County and, according to a 2022 Bell Policy Center analysis, minimum wage earners in our community need to work 89 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
We know that community members are not equally impacted by the lack of affordable housing. The Fort Collins Equity Indicator Dashboard highlights that, in 2019, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian or Pacific Islander community members were more likely to experience homelessness than white community members.
Earlier this month, we sent a letter to Mayor Arndt and the Fort Collins City Council members in support of the proposed updates to the City of Fort Collins residential Land Use Code phase one that addresses housing. Today, we are excited to share two additional policy endorsements: Estes Park Lodging Tax Extension and Prop 123.
Estes Park Lodging Tax Extension
UWLC is proud to support the proposed Estes Park Lodging Tax Extension ballot initiative. Lead by the Town of Estes Park and Visit Estes Park, the proposed Extension will generate essential funding for workforce housing and child care options in the Estes Valley, while continuing to reserve funds for tourism marketing. The proposed tax will apply to visitors paying for overnight accommodations; Estes Park residents will not pay this tax.
UWLC is proud to join a growing coalition of 150+ organizations and community leaders across Colorado in support of Prop 123. Without raising taxes, Prop 123 will help make housing more affordable for working people by providing down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, lowering rents, and building more affordable housing across the state. If passed, the initiative will require that a small portion of the state budget be set aside to help fix Colorado’s housing crisis.
We invite you to help create a Larimer County where everyone can work, learn, play, and afford to live. Join us this November by voting in support of the Estes Park Lodging Tax Extension and Prop 123.
If you need assistance with housing, please call 211 or visit www.211colorado.org. If you have time to give, please visit www.NoCoVolunteers.org to volunteer for housing-related projects or donate financially at www.uwaylc.org/give