COLORADO — A proposal making November's general election ballot aims to supply Coloradans with more options for affordable housing.
The group Make Colorado Affordable sent in over 200,000 signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State's office on Friday to qualify for the election.
If passed by voters, Initiative 108 would create a fund for affordable housing using 0.01% of the state's income tax revenue, bringing in about $270 million per year. Organizers of the initiative said that money could build 170,000 homes and rental units across the state in the next 20 years.
Melissa Hall, a Colorado Springs resident, said she had experienced homelessness with five of her children. Now, an advocate with groups like the Chinook Center in Colorado Springs, Hall is fighting for affordable housing for others.
"We're in a housing crisis," she said. "I think most of us see someone or some person that is affected by it every day."
Initiative 108 focuses on providing housing to people making a household income at or below 60% of the area's median income. The median rent in Colorado Springs is around $1,500 while Denver is charging a median rent of around $1,700.
Taxpayers will see a reduction in their TABOR refund check if the initiative is passed, revealing pushback from some, including former state representative and writer of The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights legislation, Douglas Bruce.
"It would be crazy for the taxpayers to vote to give up their own money. They shouldn't have this on the ballot. It should lose in a landslide," he said.
However, the department of community development for Colorado Springs said the funds would help the city keep up with the construction of affordable homes to meet the demand of the growing population.
"Colorado Springs is experiencing a boom in much-needed multi-family development that includes more than 1,000 new affordable apartments each year," said Steve Posey, community development manager. "This year, 22% of all new multi-family development across the city is affordable to households making 80% or less of area median income. Passage of Initiative 108 would help offset increased construction costs and support the current pace of bringing new units into the inventory."
The decision will ultimately be up to voters during Colorado's general election on Nov. 8.
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