Can Colorado’s Housing Challenges Be Solved With Regenerative Policy?

Colorado’s housing challenges are complex and urgent, ranging from zoning regulations to homelessness. State lawmakers are tasked with developing comprehensive solutions to ensure that housing is affordable and accessible for all residents. Our 2024 Policy Platform addresses the following key issues and potential pathways forward:

Zoning and Land Use

To promote density, combat sprawl and enhance energy efficiency and climate resilience, statewide zoning regulations must be reformed. Additionally, implementing a statewide prohibition on minimum parking requirements can help reduce unnecessary costs in housing development and discourage inefficient growth patterns.

Prioritizing Affordable Housing

Affordable housing remains a pressing concern, requiring a range of policy reforms. Continued funding and expansion of public institutions like the middle-income housing authority created by SB22-232 is essential. It is also essential to build on the progress made with HB22-1304 to support grant programs investing in affordable housing and infrastructure projects. Investment in housing innovation technologies, such as 3D printing, to facilitate affordable housing starts is necessary. Exploration of property tax or investment fees on multiple property ownership to fund initiatives aiding first-time homebuyers can provide additional resources. Establishing a statewide landlord/property ownership registry for comprehensive housing stock analysis is essential for informed policy decisions.

Potential Federal Funding Opportunities

Federal funding sources, such as those outlined in the FY23 Summary of Appropriations, offer avenues to support affordable housing policies. Programs like Rural Housing Loans and Rental Assistance provide crucial assistance to low-income rural families. Additionally, allocations from the Department of Housing and Urban Development encompass a wide range of initiatives aimed at addressing housing challenges nationwide.

Combatting Homelessness

Homelessness represents a severe symptom of the housing crisis, necessitating urgent action. Construction of permanent supportive housing communities, drawing inspiration from successful models like Houston’s “housing first” approach, is critical. Expansion of grant programs supporting affordable housing, with a focus on permanent supportive housing for transitioning individuals out of homelessness, is essential.

As state lawmakers navigate these challenges, collaboration with federal agencies and innovative policy approaches will be crucial in ensuring housing security for all Coloradans. By prioritizing affordability, sustainability, and inclusivity, Colorado’s housing challenges can be addressed and the state can pave the way for a more equitable housing landscape.