Date: 09/08/2009

Subcommittee Updates from Chairs


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

09:11 AM -- Subcommittee Updates from Chairs

09:12 AM -- Representative Kagan provided an update on the Housing and Utilities Subcommittee. He stated that the subcommittee had met twice and provided a summary of topics that had been discussed. The subcommittee has discussed the maximization of affordable housing and has considered testimony from various groups, including the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Colorado Counties, Inc. He described the current funding sources for affordable housing and discussed obstacles to developing more housing for individuals who are homeless. Representative Kagan outlined several suggestions for ways to increase the availability of affordable housing and to provide housing for those most in need. One suggestion was to make sure that agreements to provide affordable housing remain in place even when a housing development falls under new ownership. Representative Kagan described testimony from a University of Colorado-Denver political science professor regarding financing affordable housing through income from tax increment financing districts, a method some states already use, or through income from dedicated affordable housing tax districts. He discussed additional testimony regarding the issues facing rural Colorado and regarding the use of Regional Transportation District land to provide affordable housing. Representative Kagan explained that political considerations may be obstacles to the development of affordable housing for the poor and homeless. Representative Kagan described a report that the subcommittee will produce and noted his concern that affordable housing is not currently targeted at those who need it the most.

09:23 AM

Senator Boyd addressed Representative Kagan's comments concerning special district tax financing for affordable housing, and indicated that related legislation had been introduced on that topic in the past. Representative Kefalas made additional comments, noting that while the charge of the committee is to address the needs of individuals living in extreme poverty, the needs of middle-income families who are struggling should also be considered.

09:25 AM --
Senator Boyd provided an update on the Access to/Coordination of Public Benefits and Nonprofit/Faith-Based Assistance Subcommittee, which is co-chaired by Representative Summers and will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, September 9th.

09:26 AM --
Senator Sandoval provided an update on the Problem Scope and Poverty Metrics in Colorado Subcommittee. Senator Sandoval recognized vice-chair Lisa Piscopo. Senator Sandoval discussed a Legislative Council Staff memorandum by Kate Watkins that has provided a foundation for subcommittee discussions. She described the membership of the subcommittee and indicated that the group will eventually produce a report to be shared with the full task force. She stated that the subcommittee is focused on developing a model of poverty, and addressed the need to agree on a definition of poverty. Senator Sandoval provided a basic summary of the subcommittee's poverty model, which focuses on assets that lead to self-sufficiency and a movement out of poverty. She stated that the subcommittee will discuss metrics to measure movement between refined levels of poverty, a measurement not currently examined under federal poverty guidelines. Senator Sandoval addressed federal legislation that would affect the measurement of poverty.

09:31 AM --
Senator Hudak provided an update on the Poverty and Education Subcommittee. She stated that the subcommittee aims to examine poverty and education from a full P-20 perspective She outlined some of the suggestions that the subcommittee has discussed, including: eliminating existing silos between departments; enabling early childhood programs to continue throughout a child's life; efforts to prevent truancy; support services for middle-schoolers; and the "cliff effect" experienced by low-income students who cannot access funds to continue their education past the community college level. Senator Hudak stated that all individuals could benefit by taking classes at community colleges and colleges, and suggested that college credit be given for actions that would lessen an individual's need for public assistance. Senator Hudak noted the importance of "soft skills" education on issues such as time management and communication. She stated that some low-income families are already identified through early childhood programs, which would enable easier identification of families who would qualify for additional services. She noted that the subcommittee will examine child care and the use of family resource centers in upcoming meetings.

09:40 AM

Representative Kefalas discussed the possibility of establishing "promise neighborhoods" in Denver on a model similar to the Harlem Children's Zone. He discussed previous testimony from the Department of Higher Education regarding the graduation rate from colleges over a six-year period. Senator Sandoval reminded subcommittee chairs of the deadline to submit ideas for legislation and encouraged chairs to develop reports that can be folded into the committee's final report.