The Affordable Housing Team continues to monitor the supply and need for affordable housing, and educate our membership, community leaders, and the public about affordable housing conditions in Larimer County. Our long-term goal is to advocate for public and private solutions to the affordable housing problems in our area.
The need for affordable housing is a pressing one not just in Larimer County but across the state of Colorado and nationally. Accordingly, this issue has demanded study and gained formal support (and corresponding advocacy) from the League of Women Voters across the various levels of our organization. Read on for more information about the history of the League on a state and national level around this issue.
Action Taken at State (Colorado) Level on National Position
Position in Brief:
Support policies to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family.
Position: (Adopted 1989)
LWVUS supports policies to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family. The responsibility for achieving national housing goals rests primarily with the federal government, which should assure that there is sufficient decent housing for citizens at all income levels. State and local governments should assist by establishing effective agencies to aid, promote, coordinate and supplement the housing programs of the federal government and the private sector. Government at all levels must make available sufficient funds for housing-assistance programs.
State and local governments should adopt and enforce uniform building codes with standards based on performance and housing codes to protect the health and safety of all citizens. State and local tax structures should benefit communities that build housing for lower-income families, encourage private owners to improve their homes, and reduce speculative land costs.
Colorado suffers from a lack of affordable, decent housing. For many years LWVCO has lobbied for housing legislation which requires that minimal necessities (water, heat, electricity) be provided in rental housing, and at the same time safeguards landlords’ rights. LWVCO has also supported efforts to establish a Housing Trust Fund.
In 1989 a voluntary contribution on state income tax returns was authorized to provide funding for the homeless.
In 2008 LWVCO supported the Colorado Housing Investment Fund, a bill that emerged from a Blue Ribbon Commission on affordable housing, but it failed.
League supported a 2014 measure, which passed, that expanded the sources of funding for grants and loans for affordable housing projects, including state tax credits.
Housing History from LWV National
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the League worked for a number of federal housing programs. In 1974, League support was channeled into aspects of the Housing and Community Development Act, which consolidated federal assistance under a block grant approach. The League fought against congressional action to weaken the Community Development Block Grant program through drastic cuts in the full range of authorized low- and moderate-income subsidies for both rehabilitation and new housing.
Throughout the 1980s, the League continued to support increased funding to add to and maintain the existing stock of federally assisted housing for very low-income persons. LWVUS efforts included working as a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition to urge passage of 1987 legislation authorizing HUD’s low-income housing and community development programs, as well as endorsing the 1989 “Housing Now” march on Washington.
As a member of the Low Income Housing Coalition’s Women and Housing Task Force, the LWVUS endorsed a 1988 memorandum to the incoming Administration highlighting the housing problems facing women and making specific recommendations. In March 1990, the League endorsed a similar set of recommendations to Congress by the Women and Housing Task Force, predicated on the conviction that every person and family should have decent, safe and affordable housing. State and local Leagues have worked to increase the supply of low- and moderate-income housing through efforts to change zoning laws and to set up shared housing services.
In 2002, the LWVUS formally endorsed legislation to establish the National Housing Trust Fund, using surplus funds from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to create new housing for low-income families.