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SURVEY: Latino Voters want policymakers to pay more attention to their economic concerns

Posted at 6:52 PM, Sep 13, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — A new survey, released on Wednesday, found that Latino voters want to see more policies addressing economic concerns. The 2023 Colorado Latino Policy Agenda, surveyed 1,600 Latino registered voters across Colorado Between July 1- July 27, 2023, in both English and Spanish.

The Colorado Latino Agenda was created in 2021. It is a public research initiative in Colorado co-led by Voces Unidas and the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights. Each year they do a survey asking Latinas and Latinos in Colorado questions regarding policies, political and social issues.

The poll found that 40% of Latino voters say the top concern for lawmakers should be addressing the cost of living and inflation. 30% of respondents said another issue they wanted to address was improving wages and income. These are issues many people can relate to.

Bea Aguirre-Strong, Dora Gonzales, and Jackie Jaramillo are all a part of the Latina Equity Foundation in Colorado Springs. The foundation focuses on helping Latinas succeed in their professional careers and they also work with local Latino-owned businesses.

"There are people living in two-bedroom apartments and there could be multiple people living in there," Gonzales said.

Gonzales and Jaramillo said many families are having to share a house with other families just to get by.

"If their grandparents have a house, they end up taking all the other families in to survive, so it is not a good situation," Jaramillo said.

The Colorado Latino Policy Agenda survey found that 34%, which is slightly more than a third, of Latinos in Colorado say they “cannot afford” or can “barely afford” where they live.

"That means there are children sleeping on the couch and just a crammed situation," Jaramillo said.

Gonzales said it's hard for families to afford housing because they have to put up a large amount of money when getting a new apartment or house.

"By the time you pay the first month's rest, the application fee, it could be up to three thousand dollars in one wack," Gonzales said.

The survey reveals that 78% of respondents said they have not seen any real change in access to affordable housing. Despite several new apartment complexes being built in Colorado Springs, Gonzales doesn't expect this to bring housing prices down, that's because builders are having to invest more in construction materials.

"If I was one of those big apartment owners or investors, why would I want to rent my apartments for such cheap money when I spent all this money to build it," Gonzales said.

Colorado Springs used to be a cheaper place to live than Denver, Jaramillo said. But she said now they are similar.

66% of respondents say their rent has gone up in the last year. Jaramillo said this is forcing some Latino families to move out of the city to Falcon and Peyton because housing is cheaper there.

"Where they are getting pushed out into the county looking for cheaper rents, they are then having to pay for gas money to get to work so there are other impacts that are affecting them,” Jaramillo said.

Alex Sanchez works for Voces Unidas, which is an organization that helps put together the Colorado Latino Agenda. Sanchez said there needs to be more housing resources for working families.

“Until we get housing for the landscaper, the construction workers, the front and back of restaurants and hotels, we are still not getting to the working families who are in desperate in need of housing,” Sanchez said.

Nearly 80% of respondents are also calling for better protections for renters to prevent unjust evictions. To read the full agenda and see more results from the survey visit the Colorado Latino Agenda website.
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