Legislation would consolidate programs to provide housing assistance

State Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, steered her bill to consolidate state resources past the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Thursday, with the committee passing it without objection.

“We are bringing forward this program today so that we can consolidate duplicate programs in government in order to make it more efficient,” Duran told the Colorado Independent. “As the result of this bill, $1.5 million will be invested in local communities for affordable housing. So we are making sure that the disabled community, the homeless community and veterans are able to have more resources by consolidating these programs.”

HB 1230, if passed into law, would consolidate federal housing voucher programs for individuals with disabilities currently administered by both the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and Department of Human Services. The bill would bring those programs under the same umbrella, giving those administrative duties to DOLA.

Crisanta Duran (Boven)

According to the sponsors, the bill would increase efficiencies, reduce administrative costs and increase the amount of money available to local agencies.

The fiscal note states that it assumes DOLA, after assuming the responsibilities of administering the special needs housing vouchers, would reduce state-level administration and pass that funding on to local housing authorities.

The consolidation would result in no layoffs according to Duran, though Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, offered an amendment, which passed without objection, that struck language from the bill that prohibited lay-offs coming about as a result.

“This is a very good bill, and with my amendment I really look forward to voting for it,” Waller said.

Rep. Mark Waller (Boven)

Duran said she was continuing to work with the departments to ensure that no lay-offs would occur and that positions currently part of Human Services would be transferred to DOLA.

“It is rare that we are really able to do something on efficiency–it really is, for all the talk–and I think that you have accomplished that here in an area that is really important,” Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, told Duran.

The bill now heads to the House Appropriations Committee.

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